Try as they might, the powers that be just cannot make Paul Rudd out to be a douchebag. Look at that photo. If it were of Mark Wahlberg, John Mayer—or any other number of douches—you’d be throwing up right now.
But Paul Rudd is just so goddamn likeable. It’s impossible to not look at that photo, applaud and hope you can buy him a beer. It’s not possible to dislike Paul Rudd. And here’s why.
First of all, he’s harmless. Paul Rudd would never steal your girlfriend. Paul Rudd wouldn’t even steal a glance from your girlfriend. He’s just not a ladies’ man. He’s not exactly a George Clooney-esque man’s man, either. Paul Rudd is a guy’s guy, I guess. He’s not intimidating and looks like he’s always ready to knock back a few beers.
Rudd’s This is 40 costar, Leslie Mann, said this about him:
“He’s pleasantly neurotic. He’s really good-looking, but he behaves like somebody who isn’t.”
Also, he has eyelid dandruff. I don’t really know what that means for his personality, except that, somehow, it makes him even more likeable.
Second, Paul is funny, but he’s funny without being “that guy.”
You know “that guy.” We all have that friend who has to be the center of attention by constantly reciting a badly performed stand-up comedy routine to a nonexistent audience. That guy is not Paul Rudd. His humor is subtle—well, most of the time—and he’s not trying to steal the show. He’s making the joke for you, not for himself.
Even playing a douchebag, Paul Rudd is likeable. In Wet Hot American Summer, Paul plays an obnoxious asshole who cheats on his girlfriend. Yet, somehow Paul makes the character so stupid that he’s just loveable.
Also, Paul is depressed. But he has a sense of humor about his depression—a very likeable combination. He’s not brooding like James Franco or full of himself like Sean Penn. He’s just depressed; but for your convenience, he hides it with laughter—very considerate.
“[I'm] laughing, but crying on the inside. And not just crying—bawling. Really, a full-on meltdown.”
Finally, he’s just plain nice. He has all the appeal and charisma required of an actor without coming across as remotely Hollywood.
“At my core, I’m a Midwesterner,” Rudd told Elle magazine last year. “It’s a small-town attitude. I think that my day is better, I’m happier, when people are pleasant to each other. I think it’s so much nicer.”
The guy just wants everyone to get along. How can you not like that?
So go ahead, magazine covers. Bring on more photos of Paul Rudd looking like a cocky prick. You’re not fooling anyone.