Ruddy or Not: How Paul Rudd’s Roles Stack Up
With his starring role in the Marvel superhero blockbuster Ant-Man, Paul Rudd seems set to embark on a new phase in his career: action hero. But there’s a scene late in the movie when, caught kissing another character, his ex-con-turned-insect-controlling-good-guy Scott Lang starts to faux-blame the deed on his partner before gracefully skirting away. It’s a classic Rudd moment, and a reminder of what he brings to the table even when he’s playing a comic-book character.
What is that exactly, you ask? In general, his characters tend to be earnest and romantic, even when the cloak it under cynicism. There’s also a childlike quality in his performances, too – few things in contemporary comedy are more glorious than seeing Rudd cutting loose and indulging in goofy accents. Does he occasionally depart from that? Sure. But even then, he does it in fully self-aware fashion, and you get the feeling he’s making fun of the fact that he’s departing from it. In short, Paul Rudd never quite stops being Paul Rudd.
Some of his roles are Ruddier than other, however, so we’ve broken down his best-known parts (and some turns in a few under-the-radar gems), picked out their signature moments and rated them according to their sheer Ruddiness — the leading-man charm, the character-actor chops and the comedian’s ability to crack us up. (Never mind whether the movies are good, bad or ugly; we’re just looking at how much the role sticks to the actor’s strengths.) Ruddy or not, here we come.