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Rediscovering Paul Rudd
by Karma Waltonen

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Paul Rudd has been taken into the Apatow circle, which is good, because he's finally getting some of the attention he deserves. (Naturally, though, because Hollywood is Hollywood, Seth Rogan is getting even more attention, for reasons I cannot fathom.) Rudd is one of the sexiest and most talented actors out there.

We all first met him in CLUELESS, where he played Josh, the guy who was way too good to fall for Cher. Yes, she was pretty, yes, she gave to charity, and yes, she once knew a HAMLET quote because she'd seen a movie, but it's difficult to believe that he wouldn't get bored with her after a while. She would probably get bored with him, too—as wonderful as he was, a good fit just isn't a good fit.

Josh was a completely different character than Paris, Rudd's role in ROMEO + JULIET. Paris, if you recall, is the guy Juliet's father tries to marry her off to. In the play, he is often forgettable at first, but he visits Juliet in her tomb after her death and is slain there by Romeo when Romeo comes back. It wasn't until the last stage version of the play that I saw that I realized that Paris is a
love those men who read!

love those men who read!
necrophiliac—it's one thing to visit a tomb to pay your respects to your almost-bride. It's quite another thing to do so at night. And to tell your servant to keep watch to make sure that you're not interrupted—no matter what sounds he may hear coming from within. Or to get so surprised (defensive) to find another person there that you have to duel.

While many people didn't like Baz Luhrmann's revision of the Bard, taking out the duel with Paris (having Paris disappear after Juliet's funeral in fact) was a great move. A lot of what happens at the end of the play simply distracts from the tragedy of the lovers (the friar's confession, in case you weren't watching this show for the last two hours, for example).

It would also just break my heart to have Rudd hanging out for the wrong reason with what he thinks is Juliet's corpse.

As it is, Rudd's Paris is sweet and cute, if a dork. Maybe he can hook up with Cher after his grieving is over.

Soon after ROMEO + JULIET, Rudd starred in THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION with Jennifer Aniston. I may be one of the only people who've ever seen this movie—Aniston
love those men who read!
and Rudd play two friends who decide to raise her baby together, despite the fact that Rudd's character is gay. When Aniston's character starts to have more than friendly feelings for him, it throws life out of balance. While the ending is a little too neat, the film is an interesting meditation on friendship, jealousy, and unrequited attraction.

Most people probably didn't rediscover Paul Rudd until THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. Rudd plays one of Steve's coworkers. His highly improvised game-playing scenes with Rogen are among the most funny scenes in a very funny movie. In fact, if I were to change VIRGIN in any way, it would be to add more Rudd.

The VIRGIN-esque movies that followed, KNOCKED UP and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL didn't work as well for me. Each had their moments, and Rudd has his moments in each of them, but I wasn't able to care about the protagonists.

I LOVE YOU, MAN is part of this recent spate of movies in which guys need to grow up (by losing their virginity, by reading a baby book, by getting work done). (I have to say, I miss the guy leads who were already grown up, who were
that's the face I would make, too

that's the face I would make, too
awesome enough to just need to find the awesome woman who was just as strong and funny as they were—luckily, I can see them still on TCM.)

It's a bromance (some people are saying bromances are really new—they're not—they come in and out of vogue like everything else). Rudd plays a guy who's never really had a close male friend; he spent too much time on his girlfriend relationships and now he has to learn how to play poker and know when other guys need to fart. He does meet a guy—like any romance, the attraction is there. It's followed by awkward phone calls, breaking up, and getting back together in time for the wedding. The end bothered me, though. Not because the guys shouldn't be friends, but because I, like the friend, don't really know why there's a wedding. At no point am I convinced that the man and woman have anything to do with each other.

I know that wasn't the point, but I want to buy it. And I haven't bought it in these recent guy comedies since VIRGIN, when there was actually a woman with a personality. Even Cher was at least interesting for a little while.

C'mon, people, Paul Rudd deserves so much better.

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Comedies with Dr. Karma
Every other Wednesday

Dr. Karma discusses all things comic, from the classics to what may become classics. Laugh with, but not at, her, please.

Other Columns
Other columns by Karma Waltonen:

Goodbye -- Dr. Karma

The Dictator and Dark Shadows

Pirates and Whedon Movies: In Theatres Now!

A Touch of Cult

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Karma Waltonen
Dr. Karma is a silly, nerdy know-it-all, but in a good way. She brings all her overeducation to discuss that which truly matters: comedy. As some famous guy once said: “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.” Or something like that.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Karma Waltonen by clicking here.

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