Paul Rudd, who stars in this weekend's big-budget comedy Dinner for Schmucks, is "one of [Hollywood's] greatest comedic resources," says Elbert Ventura in Slate. But this mediocre comedy is just the latest mainstream movie to squander Rudd's "unhinged, even surreal" brand of humor. Take a look at the "unseen indie comedies" and "cult TV series" he appeared in before making it big for evidence of his "unruly and uproariously random" comedic style. Sadly, "one of our most intelligent performers" is being wasted as a leading man. Here's an excerpt:
As Rudd has gained mainstream success, the parts have started to conform to his good looks. Rudd, an absurdist at heart, keeps showing up in roles that ask him to tamp down his instincts and play the buddy, the boyfriend, the husband. The last two movies in which he's been a lead, Role Models and I Love You, Man, had their moments but were finally exhausted retreads that played it safe, pushing Rudd deeper into conventionality.
Dinner for Schmucks doesn't look any more promising for Rudd, as he plays the straight man to Carell's buffoon. On the brink of being a star, Rudd may also be in danger of turning into that most boring of things: the relatable lead.