Paul RuddDramatically Comedic Actor
A comedic and dramatic actor with a flair for the unconventional.
As effective in heavy dramas (The Cider House Rules) as in silly comedies (Wet Hot American Summer), Paul Rudd's low-key attitude and off-key delivery have made him an unlikely mainstream movie star. His first major role came in the 1995 comedy Clueless, as the socially conscious and condescending Josh. Instead of following the Hollywood heartthrob route, he chose films with characters whose emotions are laid uncomfortably bare. As an oblivious lovestruck student in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things, Rudd conveys underplayed devastation that works as well in the film version as it did in his theater performance. An admitted fan of anti-comedian Andy Kaufman, Rudd, with his naturally off-kilter comedic sensibilities, proved to be a perfect candidate for inclusion on director Judd Apatow's shortlist of actors, appearing as a key supporting player in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. As the lead in the 2009 comedy I Love You, Man, Rudd is charmingly nerdy as a lonely groom desperate for male friendship, and his juvenile attempts to bond with Jason Segel are the half-forgotten memories of many a socially awkward teenager. Exemplifying Rudd's range is Role Models, where his portrayal of a sullen energy-drink salesman is at turns cynical and sweet, revealing a delicate balancing act that's harder than it looks.
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