April 6, 1969 – Yesterday I channel-surfed onto the charming romantic comedy The Object Of My Affection (1998), directed by openly gay stage & film director Nicholas Hytner, a film I had admired when it had a first run in the theatre & after having reading the fine novel by openly gay novelist Stephen McCauley that was the basis Wendy Wasserstein’s sweet & funny screenplay. I was pleasantly surprised that the film stood up so well & I watched agog at how young the actors, now so familiar to all of us, seemed: Jennifer Aniston, Allison Janney, Tim Daly, Alan Alda, & especially cutie-pie Paul Rudd, who looks like a puppy.
The Object Of My Affection is a sweet & tart tale that made me laugh, & I’ll admit, shed a tear also. Rudd plays a gay school teacher, who moves in with his brand new friend, played by a wry Aniston, after his boyfriend dumps him, if you can imagine anyone getting rid of Rudd. When the new roomie discovers that she is pregnant, she decides that she wants Rudd to be the father figure for the kid, which is not what her own boyfriend wants. The film is delicately done, the characters are wonderfully lovable/loathsome, & the revelations are never too spontaneous. The tone seems rather brave for the time, with a major gay character that is not a martyr, a sissy or a saint, a rare occurrence. Plus, Rudd is just my favorite gay for pay actor.
Rudd is a nimble comic actor, something rare in someone so good-looking. He remains unafraid to take on leading roles or supporting parts, & he works on stage, TV & films. A shirtless Rudd made an impossibly hot Prospero in Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center in 1998.
Other Rudd performances that I totally dig: Clueless (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996), 200 Cigarettes (1999), The Cider House Rules (2000), The Shape Of Things (2003), Dinner For Schmucks (2010), This Is 40 (2012), & The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012).
One of my very favorite Rudd performances is in the demented Wet Hot American Summer (2001). I was overjoyed to have my sources let me know that the original cast: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Molly Shannon, Christopher Meloni, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, & our birthday boy, Rudd are returning in a Netflix series based on the nutty film. It will be released this summer.
For Paul Rudd, being a cutie is not enough, he also writes & produces. Rudd celebrates his 46th birthday today.