Funnyman Paul Rudd has had an illustrious acting career spanning more than three decades—and he's still going strong. While he initially made his mark via TV and stage, he's now remembered most for his filmography.
Beyond his memeworthy antics and ageless looks, Paul Rudd exhibits a talent that feeds into his comedic style—even in against-type roles—that's full of poking and prodding snarky remarks.
Here are our picks for the best Paul Rudd movies of all time that showcase his capabilities as a modern Hollywood actor.
10. Clueless (1995)
Directed by Amy Heckerling
Starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy
Comedy, Romance (1h 37m)
Technically, Paul Rudd's first movie was the teen comedy hit Clueless. In it he plays Josh, the eventual love interest of Alicia Silverstone's Cher.
The two have a playful banter and a sweet degree of understanding towards one another because Josh and Cher are ex-stepsiblings.
He, of course, struggles with Cher's plucky attitude and serves as her moral compass throughout her matchmaking endeavors. And yet, he always finds sympathy for her—even to the point of defending her after she mishandles her father's legal papers.
Few other actors could've pulled this off as Rudd's endless charm and empathy shine without him falling into "nice guy" category.
9. They Came Together (2014)
Directed by David Wain
Starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader
Comedy, Romance (1h 23m)
Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler previously worked together on Wet Hot American Summer (2001), and they came together again (with some of the same team from that film) to create this spoof.
Rudd and Poehler play the couple Joel and Molly, who meet in the oddest of places: Molly is a candy shop owner while Joel works for the large candy company who buys her store.
They Came Together explores their fateful meeting, their eventual fallout, and their attempts to get back together.
Despite all the wit and hilarity that comes from wringing out the usual rom-com clichés, it's the chemistry between Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler that anchors and propels this movie.
8. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Directed by David Wain
Starring Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter
Comedy, Romance (1h 37m)
Not only will Wet Hot American Summer always represent the peak of Paul Rudd's cult classic phase, but it'll also always be that comedic gem of a film that paved the way for so many hilarious talents.
The basic premise of Wet Hot American Summer centers on the last day of summer camp at Camp Firewood and the antics shared by both campers and camp counselors.
Paul Rudd plays Andy, an obnoxious camp counselor who cheats on his girlfriend with fellow counselor Lindsay (played by Elizabeth Banks).
He's totally ex-boyfriend material—rebellious, arrogant, and full of rage—and that's what makes him so funny with Rudd in the role.
7. Our Idiot Brother (2011)
Directed by Jesse Peretz
Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel
Comedy, Drama (1h 30m)
Our Idiot Brother stars Paul Rudd as a slacker named Ned Rochlin who's dumped by his girlfriend, arrested by the police, and forced to seek help and guidance from his three well-adjusted sisters: Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Nat (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer).
Disaster awaits them, of course, as they have to deal with the slacker brother's pacifist views and idle behavior.
In comedies, Paul Rudd usually plays the sensible guy or the straight man, but here he steps into a role that's typically reserved for his peers like Seth Rogen or Jason Segel—and he knocks it out of the park.
While the character of Ned Rochlin isn't so different from most slacker characters in cinema, Paul Rudd makes him truly lovable.
6. This Is 40 (2012)
Directed by Judd Apatow
Starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow
Comedy, Drama, Romance (2h 14m)
In Knocked Up (2007), Paul Rudd played a pushover named Pete who was always at the mercy of his assertive wife Debbie (played by Leslie Mann). This Is 40 is a spin-off of Knocked Up that looks at this couple as they struggle with their midlife crises.
Sure, it's the kind of film that's played for laughs, but the saga of Pete and Debbie in This Is 40 is surprisingly insightful as it reflects on issues like parenting, aging, and long-term relationships.
While Debbie is mindful of their family's bond, Pete takes a more carefree attitude when it comes to his wife, his kids, and his career.
It's a role that could be utterly despised in the wrong hands, but Rudd's ever-present charm and perfect comedic timing make it glow.
5. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Directed by Judd Apatow
Starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd
Comedy, Romance (1h 56m)
Paul Rudd is most often known for playing "the lovable fool," and a lot of that traces back to his performance as David in Judd Apatow's influential comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
While the movie is centrally focused on Steve Carell as Andy—the titular virgin who tries to overcome his insecurities—it sporadically jumps to David repeatedly making a fool of himself.
His most memorable gag is his debate with Seth Rogen's Cal while playing video games, where they constantly go back and forth saying: "You know how I know that you're gay?"
This banter is quintessential Paul Rudd, who seems like a jerk at first but proves himself a charmer in the end.
4. Ant-Man (2015)
Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi (1h 57m)
For many Hollywood stars today, their most recognized roles are their appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or if they haven't been in the MCU, then any other superhero movie).
Ant-Man isn't the biggest player in the MCU, but he's the kind of character that wouldn't be nearly as loved if Paul Rudd wasn't there to infuse him with his charm and appeal. Paul Rudd is Scott Lang.
The character of a thief-turned-hero is almost tailor-made for Rudd, who was part of the character's development and the scriptwriting after the project went separate ways from Edgar Wright.
Scott Lang possesses the kind of charming street-smarts that we'd expect from someone like Danny Ocean, capped off with a redemption tale that's typical for roguish Marvel heroes.
3. I Love You, Man (2009)
Directed by John Hamburg
Starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones
Comedy, Romance (1h 45m)
I Love You, Man is Paul Rudd's best turn as leading man. In this bromantic comedy, Rudd plays real estate agent Peter who proposes to his girlfriend Zooey (played by Rashida Jones) but realizes he has no guy friends to tell the news.
He eventually finds Sydney (played by Jason Segel), leading to a fun and messy friendship with a rapport that becomes the heart of the movie.
As the straight man, Paul Rudd always knows when it's time to turn on the charm or unleash his outrageous side. And among all the best "romance versus bromance" comedy movies out there, I Love You, Man is easily the most adorable.
2. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (3h 1m)
Paul Rudd has appeared in a handful of MCU films as Ant-Man, but the best one of the bunch—the one where he had the most gravitas—remains the epic, record-breaking blockbuster Avengers: Endgame.
Picking up from where he was left in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Scott Lang returns to a post-Blip era with a world-saving solution.
Despite it being an Avengers film, Paul Rudd's Scott Lang plays the most crucial role with his tool that allows the team to run a "time heist."
Plus, he brings a lot of fun to a film that's pretty bleak overall, and he has an emotional reunion with his now-grown-up Abby. A true MVP.
1. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Directed by Adam McKay
Starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell
Comedy (1h 34m)
Paul Rudd's Brian Fantana is a self-proclaimed ladies man with his own fragrance. He's persistent in his pursuit of women, in his showing off of his own pride, in everything beyond his role for the news.
But his confidence is challenged when female anchor Veronica Corningstone (played by Christina Applegate) joins the news team.
With a suave mustache and 1970s hairdo, Rudd breathed life to the pompous reporter, whose right-hand-man attitude so perfectly complements the showboating of Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy.
With him on-screen 60% of the time, Brian Fantana works every time—and his appearance in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy will remain our favorite for a long, long time.