if you believe Jimmy Kimmel‘s Celebrity Mean Tweets, he’s the most vanilla dude on the planet. if you believe People Magazine, he’s the Sexiest Man Alive. And if you believe the internet, he’s the most wholesome guy in Hollywood. Of course, we’re talking about the one and only Paul Rudd. Ageless, charming, and funny, Rudd has built a stellar career filled with everything from cult classics to billion-dollar blockbusters. Let’s count down his top 15 performances of him!
15. Tommy Doyle – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Yes, you read that right. Paul Rudd, best known for his comedy and romance roles, started his big-screen career by playing an adolescent Tommy Doyle, who you may remember as the child Laurie babysits in the original Halloween film. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers certainly isn’t the best horror movie, but Rudd’s performance as Doyle was strong and helped him earn the roles we all know and love.
14. Pete – Knocked Up (2007) & This is 40 (2012)
In Knocked Up, Rudd plays Pete, a sarcastic and cynical father who is constantly bickering with his wife. Pete has some of the best scenes in the movie: the child molester argument and constantly changing chairs while he’s crying. If you loved Pete in Knocked Upbe sure to check out the spinoff movie This is 40 that focuses on him and his wife.
13. Wally Worthington – The Cider House Rules (1999)
Rudd has appeared in countless comedy movies, but his dramatic roles can’t be forgotten. In The Cider House Rules, we get to see one of Rudd’s best dramatic performances. In this Academy award-winning film, Rudd plays Air Force Lieutenant Wally Worthington. Rudd’s character is away for World War II during much of the film, but when he’s on-screen, he provides an excellent performance and the trademark Paul Rudd-ness that everyone loves.
12. David – The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
While The 40-Year-Old Virgin focus on Steve Carell‘s character, Andy, Paul Rudd’s performance as Andy’s friend David is excellent. Rudd offers great joke delivery, hilarious improvisation, and the iconic fashion statement of wearing his own face on a T-shirt.
11. Miles Elliot – Living with Yourself (2019)
In Living with Yourself, Rudd plays two characters: Miles Elliot and Miles Elliot. This Netflix series tells the story of a depressed man who visits a mysterious spa that will supposedly improve his life. But after visiting the spa, he finds that he has been replaced by a clone of himself. The show is bizarre, clever, and solidly entertaining, thanks to Rudd’s stellar performance of him as the two leads.
10. Adam Sorenson – The Shape of Things (2003)
The Shape of Things is one of the bleaker movies on this list. In the film, Rudd plays Adam Sorenson, a lonely college student. Somehow, Adam catches the attention of Evelyn (Rachel Weiss), a fellow college student working on her thesis project. But as Adam and Evelyn’s relationship progresses, she becomes more manipulative. His friendships from him suffer, and he is convinced to completely change his personality and appearance from him. Both Rudd and Weisz provide captivating performances in the film. It’s also worth noting that Rudd played this role for the stage production of The Shape of Things.
9. Ned Rochlin – Our Idiot Brother (2011)
In this 2011 comedy, Rudd plays good-guy stoner Ned Rochlin, who gets arrested after selling weed to a cop in uniform. After the incident, Ned’s girlfriend kicks him out, and he begins to interfere in the lives of his mother and three sisters. Rudd is excellent in this role, delivering a great comedic and emotional performance.
8. Mr. Anderson – The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), a teenager navigating his mental illness, trauma, and the challenges of high school. Rudd plays a minor role as Charlie’s English teacher but delivers one of the most impactful lines in the film: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
7. Chuck/Kunu – Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
While he’s only on-screen for a few minutes, Paul Rudd’s character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall is undoubtedly one of the most memorable parts of the film. Rudd plays a surf instructor named Chuck, but he prefers to go by his “Hawaiian name,” Kunu. Kunu is a beach bum stoner with an awful memory that attempts to teach Peter (Jason Segel) how to surf. His confusing instructions from him, nonsensical philosophizing, and butchering of common phrases makes him a hilarious character that you wo n’t forget.
6. Josh Lucas – Clueless (1995)
clueless was one of Rudd’s earliest film appearances, and was another indication that he would have a great acting career. Rudd plays Josh Lucas, the ex-stepbrother of Cher Horowitz (Alice Silverstone). Josh adds some realism and idealism to Cher’s superficial life of her. The film and actors’ performances were well received, leading to positive reviews and a strong cult following that persists to this day.
5. Peter Klaven – I Love You, Man (2009)
In I Love You, Man, Rudd plays Peter Klaven, a husband-to-be searching for a Best Man for his wedding. Peter connects with Sydney (Jason Segel) and the two begin a friendship. I Love You, Man is half buddy film, half rom-com, and fully entertaining. Rudd and Segel have worked together numerous times, and their chemistry is deeply visible here.
4. Bobby Newport – Parks and Recreation (2012 – 2020)
Parks and Recreation has some of the most hilarious side characters in any TV sitcom, but Rudd’s performance as Bobby Newport still stands out. Newport is Leslie Knope’s (amy poehler) rival campaign in the election for city council. He’s a good-natured, childish dimwit who’s only running to make his CEO father happy. Rudd nails this role and brings so much hilarious charisma that it’s impossible to dislike Newport. He also has some of the funniest lines in the show, with a standout being, “I guess my thoughts on abortion are, you know, let’s just all have a good time.”
3. Andy – Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Wet Hot American Summer is a satirical comedy making fun of raunchy ’80s teen movies. In the film, Rudd plays the rude and uncaring camp counselor, Andy. The film was poorly received and a financial failure, but has developed a strong cult following over the years. If you can appreciate a goofy satire and a great Paul Rudd performance, you’ll appreciate the film. And if you love Rudd as Andy, check out Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Laterwhere he reprises the role.
2. Brian Fantana – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004, 2013)
Rudd’s performance as Brian Fantana in the Anchorman movies is undoubtedly one of his funniest. Fantana is a “ladies’ man” field reporter with a deep appreciation for cologne. His description of the “Sex Panther” cologne is one of the most hilarious scenes in the movie. Of course, anything involving “Sex Panther” has to be good. After all, it’s made with bits of real panther.
1. Ant-Man/Scott Lang – Marvel Cinematic Universe (2015-)
Paul Rudd already had a great career built for himself, but his role as Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe catapulted him to superstar status. He has appeared as Ant-Man in several Marvel projects and always brings an appreciated light-heartedness to the films. Rudd was not known for action movies prior to his appearance as Ant-Man, but he owned the role with strong acting skills and boundless charm. Now, it’s hard to think of anyone else playing the character.
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