To mark the news of Paul Rudd’s ascension to People’s Sexiest Man Alive status in 2021, we at RadioTimes.com have put together a list of the actor’s best movies to celebrate the occasion.
Our team brings you all the reasons you should stream Rudd’s greatest hits and more underrated gems, from Clueless to I Love You, Man, also including I Could Never Be Your Woman and Anchorman, right now.
Paul Rudd is ageless, of course, but he does look particularly fresh-faced in Amy Heckerling’s 1995 romantic comedy, Clueless, the film that firmly put Rudd on the map for many viewers around the world. In this high-school-set adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, Rudd plays Josh Lucas, the sarcastic step-brother to Alicia Silverstone’s Cher Horowitz, who proves to be the perfect counterpoint to the pomp of her popularity.
The chemistry between Rudd and Silverstone is nothing short of sizzling – they’re the yin to each other’s yang – which makes for so many memorable moments and laugh-out-loud interactions, so much so that we’d still love to see these two in another movie together. Dare we even dream for a sequel or reunion? We’ll always have Clueless, though, which remains one of Rudd’s very best roles. Come for the playful bickering, stay for the gradual realisation that Josh and Cher are perfect for each other!
– Rob Leane, Gaming Editor
I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)
Bauer Martinez Studios/The Weinstein Company
Nothing beats I Could Never Be Your Woman for peak sweet-and-funny Paul Rudd. People’s Sexiest Man Alive 2021 brings the best of Mike Hannigan’s sassy one-liners from his turn in Friends, Bobby Newport’s innocent enthusiasm from Parks and Rec and Clueless pin-up Josh’s reassuring presence to Adam, the younger love interest of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Rosie in this infinitely watchable rom-com.
For fans looking to celebrate the auspicious occasion of his induction into the Sexiest Man Hall of Fame, look no further than the film that gave us what I would argue is the highlight of his career: I Could Never Be Your Woman’s dance scene. When, amid her apprehension about their age difference, Pfeiffer’s character sees the unself-conscious Adam take to the floor to perform a medley of dance styles with complete abandon, she’s instantly won over. And who can blame her? This is Paul Rudd at his most adorable.
– Minnie Wright, News Editor
The seemingly-immortal Paul Rudd doesn’t play a huge role in 2004 comedy hit Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but he certainly steals the show – and our hearts – on a number of occasions. In the Will Ferrell film, Rudd stars as Brian Fantana, the lead field reporter for KVWN’s Channel 4 News and sleazy self-professed ladies’ man.
Whether he’s dousing himself in his pungent Sex Panther cologne (“60 per cent of the time it works every time”) or lending his vocals to Ron’s rendition of Afternoon Delight, Brian Fantana and his mutton chops are a key part of what makes Anchorman such a ridiculously silly classic. Aside from his performance as the moustachioed Brian, Paul Rudd’s chemistry with co-stars Will Ferrell (Ron), David Koechner (Champ) and Steve Carell (Brick) is effortlessly electric and without him, the Channel 4 News Team would simply be nowhere near as iconic as they have become over the last 17 years.
– Lauren Morris, Writer
Role Models (2008)
For this 2008 comedy, Rudd ditched his usual ‘nice guy’ persona to play embittered energy drink salesman Danny, whose extreme cynicism has pushed long-time partner Beth (Elizabeth Banks) to finally give up on their relationship. Later, a dangerous outburst against a parking attendant lands him and his friend Wheeler (Seann William Scott) in community service, specifically a mentoring programme for children and teenagers in need of some extra support.
While initially sceptical about the idea, the duo strikes up an unlikely bond with their youngsters – dorky live-action role player Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and potty mouthed Ronnie (Bobb’e J Thompson) – with some important lessons being learned on both sides of the friendship. Role Models packs real heart and some bursts of drama but avoids becoming too schmaltzy by balancing them with moments of inappropriate humour.
Rudd has great chemistry with virtually every co-star he’s ever had, so it’s no surprise that he and Scott are on top form here, but it’s Jane Lynch (Glee) who arguably steals the show as their eccentric supervisor, Gayle. Unlike many mid-noughties comedies, this one holds up – if you haven’t seen it in a while, consider revisiting it soon.
– David Craig, Writer
I Love You, Man (2009)
I Love You, Man is the perfect vehicle for Paul Rudd’s amiable Regular Joe persona – and for Jason Segel’s man-child slacker persona. The pair are perfectly cast in this likeable buddy comedy that follows Rudd’s loner Peter Klaven as he seeks to build a meaningful, platonic relationship with another man, with Segel’s Sydney Fife the perhaps unlikely candidate.
By Hollywood standards a reasonably healthy portrayal of a “bromance” and intimacy in male friendships, I Love You, Man doesn’t rewrite the genre rulebook but remains consistently entertaining throughout thanks to the chemistry between its two leads and able support from a talented supporting cast – in particular Rashida Jones, who brings her trademark charm to what might otherwise have been a thankless “straight woman” role as Rudd’s character’s girlfriend. In short, this movie slaps harder than Peter slappin’ the bass.
– Morgan Jeffery
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