Whether Paul Rudd has been one of your favorite leading men since the '90s, or he’s just now becoming one of your favorites to watch, there are plenty of Paul Rudd movies to fit your style. You may be a fan of the Paul who stole his ex-stepsister’s heart, or the one who sometimes fights bad guys and always makes you laugh. You might even be a fan of the more obscure, meme-worthy Paul. There are so many choices when it comes to Paul Rudd’s best movies.
The 2021 sexiest man alive has plenty of great films available to purchase, rent, or stream. For this list, I chose movies that mainly feature Rudd as one of the main characters. There may be a movie or two with him in a supporting role, but the majority of the films on this list have him as the star. It also contains picks from the 1990s and early 2000s, so it's not just new school Paul Rudd.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Middle-aged electronics store employee Andy (Academy Award nominee Steve Carell) lives a quiet and simple -- but a bit lonely -- life that is suddenly upended when his coworkers discover he has never had sex. After his new friends make it their mission to help him lose his virginity, he embarks on a riotous journey of self-rediscovery that may lead him to achieving something more meaningful when he meets a woman around the same age (Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener).
Rudd's first of many collaborations with Judd Apatow, The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, is also the writer and director's debut feature and still considered one of the best Apatow movies to this day that stands out among other raunchy comedies of the time for a surprising dose of maturity and heart. Rudd is a key component to that, giving an endearing performance as Andy's sympathetic, broken-hearted friend, David.
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is the typical wealthy American teenager. She loves makeovers, shopping, and hanging out with friends, but she starts to reevaluate her life and values when she finds herself falling for an unexpected person.
If you’re like me, you’ve seen Clueless a million and one times and always love it. It’s not just a great movie, but Cher and Josh (Paul Rudd) are relationship goals, even if their relationship is a little on the weird side, because they’re ex-step siblings. The Clueless cast may have done so many things since the 1995 movie, but it’s an epic teen classic that lives on forever, and one of the reasons for its success is Rudd being so charismatic in it.
The Ant-Man And Marvel Movies (2015-)
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was a professional thief who happened to find himself as the new operator of an Ant-Man suit designed by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). He joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015's Ant-Man. Rudd has now appeared in numerous MCU projects, including the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Rudd has brought a light energy to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that always makes it fun to see Scott on screen. He’s far less serious than some of the other characters, and even when he’s trying to be serious, there is still some element of comedy.
The Fundamentals Of Caring (2016)
The Fundamentals of Caring is a Netflix original movie about a man who becomes the caregiver of a boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The film stars Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, and Selena Gomez. The Fundamentals of Caring is one of the great coming of age movies that not only explores learning and growing from the young adult perspective, but from an adult as well.
The Fundamentals of Caring is a comedy but with some serious elements about grief and loss. Rudd manages to keep the film lighthearted while also showing viewers a realistic portrayal of a man deeply saddened and trying to cope with a tragic event.
I Love You, Man (2009)
Fearing that he doesn't have enough close male friends, Peter (Paul Rudd) decides to find a new best male friend before his wedding. He meets Sydney (Jason Segel), and they instantly become great friends, but Peter’s fiancé, Zooey (Rashida Jones), and Sydney don’t mesh as well.
I Love You, Man is a buddy comedy that really leans into the elements that resemble a romantic comedy, especially when Peter and Sydney first initially connect. That’s one of the many ways that I Love You, Man offers a true to form but unique take on the buddy comedy movie. Rudd and Segel also have great on-screen chemistry that almost makes you more interested in their relationship drama than Zooey and Peter’s problems.
Role Models (2008)
Paul Rudd stars as Danny, a man who works at an energy drink company. Danny has one too many bad days and gets himself and co-worker Wheeler (Seann William Scott) sentenced to do community service as mentors. Role Models also stars Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J.Thompson, and Jane Lynch.
Role Models was also co-written by Paul Rudd. The film includes a slew of well-known comedians in very fitting but over the top roles. Role Models details the life of a man who hates everything, but starts to hate things a little less through mentoring an unusual kid.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Wet Hot American Summer is a satirical film that takes place during the last day of a fictional summer camp in 1981. It’s a film that satirizes those '80s teen sex comedies. It features an all-star ensemble that includes Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Ken Marino, and Paul Rudd. Netflix created a TV series version of Wet Hot American Summer that lasted for two seasons and included many of the film’s original cast.
I wouldn’t say Wet Hot American Summer is for everyone, but for those who can appreciate its quirk and humor, it is a fun film that highlights some of the ridiculousness that makes '80s sex comedies so awesome or cringey/problematic, depending on what stance you take on them.
This Is 40 (2012)
This is 40 is the sequel/spin-off of Knocked Up. It focuses on the marriage of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), and depicts many of the stresses that their marriage is dealing with as they're both turning 40. This is 40 is one of the three Judd Apatow films that Paul Rudd has appeared in. The other two films were The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
The 40-Year Old Virgin, in my opinion, is the best of these three films, but Paul Rudd has more of a supporting role in the other two movies, and This is 40 allows him to be the star alongside Leslie Mann. The film is not the happiest look at aging, marriage, or life, but it’s executed with humor and optimism.
The Anchorman Movies (2004, 2013)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a satirical comedy that stars Will Ferrell. It takes a shot at '70s news reporting with this over-the-top news anchor and his crew. The first Anchorman film also starred Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Fred Willard. In 2013 the sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, was released.
The Anchorman films are the right blend of wacky, fun, and over-the-top. They’re what a good time looks like in film form. Rudd plays one of his most ridiculous characters in the Anchorman films.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife takes place thirty-two years after the events of the second Ghostbusters film. It follows a single mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and her two children, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace), as they move to a farm left by Callie’s estranged father. Paul Rudd plays seismologist Gary Grooberson.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife connects the past films in a way that pays homage but also moves them toward a future franchise and what that could become. It’s a great film for Ghostbusters fans who love the original and want a film that keeps that spirit but also lets the film’s new stars, like Rudd, shine.
Overnight Delivery (1998)
Overnight Delivery is a romantic comedy about a college man who believes that his long-distance girlfriend is cheating on him. He gets drunk and seeks revenge by mailing her some staged photos of himself with a dancer he met at a strip club through an overnight delivery service. The next morning he discovers that she didn’t cheat, and now he must retrieve the photos before they arrive.
Overnight Delivery stars Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Christine Taylor. This isn’t one of Paul Rudd’s best films, but it is a charming romantic comedy that many may not have heard of or seen. Rudd and Witherspoon are fun to watch together in what is nearly a FedEx propaganda film.
The Cider House Rules (1999)
The Cider House Rules follows Homer (Tobey Maguire), an orphan who works as a doctor’s apprentice while living in an orphanage during World War II. Instead of following the path his mentor, Dr. Larch (Michael Caine), sets for him, he decides to follow a young couple and begins to work in a cider house.
The Cider House Rules has a cast full of future stars, including Charlize Theron, Kieran Culkin, and Paul Rudd. The cast also includes big names such as Delroy Lindo, Erykah Badu, and Heavy D. Paul Rudd has a supporting role as Lt. Wally Worthington. It’s not a huge Rudd-centric film, but he has enough material to bring that famous Rudd charm. The Cider House Rules is also full of amazing performances, especially by Lindo and Caine.
The Object Of My Affection (1998)
The Object of My Affection is a romantic dramedy about a woman who falls in love with her gay best friend. It stars Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd before their Friends days.
The Object of My Affection isn’t a traditional romantic dramedy, because it’s less about romantic love and more about friendship and accepting that true love doesn’t always have to be romantic.
These are only a few of Paul Rudd’s best movies available online. Romeo + Juliet, Reno 911: Miami, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Our Idiot Brother are just a few other great Paul Rudd movies that you can check out. Paul Rudd’s upcoming projects shows that there may be even more great movies added to this list in the future.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.