10 Best Paul Rudd Roles

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10 best Paul Rudd roles

10 Best Paul Rudd Roles

Paul Rudd is our greatest everyman—he could pass as someone’s dad, someone’s husband, someone’s best friend, whoever. He’s funny but can do drama, he’s charming but can play a bad guy, he really is unmatched in versatility. It’s no wonder the guy can play a Marvel hero, a dumb politician, and a cool camp counselor all in the same year.

He’s been on the scene since 1995, but got a pretty big break first when he appeared as Phoebe’s partner on Friends, then an even bigger break when he started appearing in Judd Apatow movies. Now, Rudd seems nearly unstoppable. He’s got six acting credits just in 2018, for crying out loud. While most of his filmography is quite solid, there are some that stand out more than the rest.

I Love You, Man

10 best Paul Rudd roles

Along with his costar Jason Segel, Rudd makes being lonely seem hilarious. In the film, he’s just proposed to his longtime girlfriend but has no one to be his best man. So, he sets out to find a best friend and sees one in Jason Segel’s character. Hilarity ensues, but it’s more than just your average R-rated comedy: it’s a really, really funny movie.

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Wet Hot American Summer

10 best Paul Rudd roles

Rudd’s role of Andy, the cool camp counselor, came before he’d even appeared on Friends. He’d go on to collaborate with writer/director David Wain again and again throughout his career, but this is where it all began: he’s playing more of a caricature than a character, but it’ll define his goofy side for the rest of his career. The movie’s nothing more than a spoof, but Rudd’s character is priceless.

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Clueless

10 best Paul Rudd roles

This was Rudd’s first role in a big studio film, and it worked out pretty well for him. Clueless is still celebrated as one of the best comedies of the 90s, and Rudd’s characterization of Josh is the perfect foil for Alicia Silverstone’s ditzy and iconic Cher. Rudd’s not the biggest character in the film—in fact, he’s kind of closer to secondary—but he’s essential to the plot and delivers some of the best lines in the entire thing.

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The 40-Year-Old Virgin

10 best Paul Rudd roles

This movie was a hit for all kinds of reasons—it’s vulgar, it’s honest, it’s endearing—but it owes a lot to its all-star cast. Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, and (of course) Rudd make for one of the best ensemble casts of the 2000s. Surprisingly enough, it came out the same year as the next film on the list and even stars some of the same actors.

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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

10 best Paul Rudd roles

Will Ferrell is the obvious powerhouse of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but the rest of his Channel 4 News crew deserves some praise, too. Especially Paul Rudd, whose character Brian Fantana serves up some of the most iconic lines in the entire movie. It’s like, you probably heard Rudd’s character’s quote “60 percent of the time, it works every time” at least a hundred times throughout middle school and high school or even at work.

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Parks & Recreation

10 best Paul Rudd roles

The character of Bobby Newport is one of the funniest in all of the Parks & Recreation universe, and Paul Rudd is the one who makes it so. He is Leslie Knope’s nemesis, but he has no idea how or why. He’s one of the dumbest (and most hilarious) characters, and it honestly comes across as endearing more than threatening. The show may be over, but the role lives on in the minds of fans still to this day.

Purchase the complete series now on Amazon for $32.99.

Ant-Man

10 best Paul Rudd roles

It seems like the role he was born to play: a superhero, a criminal, a dad, and a dork all rolled into one. The role of Scott Lang is perfect for Rudd, and he’s managed to make himself one of the most easily watchable Marvel characters so far sheerly on charm alone. Here’s hoping for many more Ant-Man appearances to come.

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

10 best Paul Rudd roles

Paul Rudd can act well, that’s for sure, but he can also improvise like nobody’s business. His role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the perfect example of this. His burnout surfer character is consistently hilarious and holds up on multiple rewatches, no matter how many times you’ve heard the jokes before.

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Knocked Up

10 best Paul Rudd roles

Rudd’s second collaboration with Apatow might’ve been where many people’s love for Rudd began. He’s playing a deadbeat husband, barely there for his wife and constantly cracking jokes and making bad decisions. He’s playing a bad dad, a bad husband, a bad friend, and a borderline bad person, but he makes it oh so funny.

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Wanderlust

10 best Paul Rudd roles

Starring alongside Jennifer Aniston in one of the strongest Wain collaborations to date, Wanderlust is as hilarious as it is endearing. Aniston and Rudd play a husband and wife who are desperate for a change of pace in their life. They decide to flee to a convent, and the misadventures that follow make for one of Rudd’s funniest performances yet. This movie didn’t receive as much love as it deserves upon release, possibly due to it being released so close to The Hunger Games, but it’s gotten plenty of appreciation in the years since.

Purchase now on Amazon for $3.99.

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Weekend: Nov. 21, 2019, Nov. 24, 2019

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