Paul Rudd is Hollywood’s next big thing—but not in the way he should be, writes Elbert Ventura in a Slate piece arguing that Tinseltown is squandering the actor’s comedic talents. “Rudd's rise is well-deserved,” considering his body of work “is one of the funniest—and most underrated—in recent American comedy.” But Rudd, “an absurdist at heart,” has gone from “unhinged, even surreal” movies like Wet Hot American Summer and Anchorman to bland, conventional fare.
“On the brink of being a star, Rudd may also be in danger of turning into that most boring of things: the relatable lead,” Ventura writes. “Hollywood seems determined to amplify Rudd's ordinariness” by casting him as “the nice guy” in movies like I Love You, Man. Fortunately, “underground” cameos (watch a selection at left) remind us “how unruly and uproariously random” Rudd can be. “it would be a supreme waste if Rudd, one of our most intelligent performers, mired himself in the muck of mainstream comedy.”