Paul Rudd's star rises with ''I Love You, Man"

Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:11am EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comic actor Paul Rudd has worked at many dead-end jobs including one glazing hams, but after years of toiling away in Hollywood's background several recent leading film roles have sent his star rising.

For his new comedy "I Love You, Man," which debuts in U.S. theaters on Friday, Rudd sees his name and likeness plastered across billboards and other ads promoting the film, and more than ever, his talent for making people laugh is expected to sell theater tickets.

Rudd, 39, is edging closer to the career of a leading comic actor like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Jack Black or Vince Vaughn, charter members of Hollywood's "Frat Pack" and Rudd's fellow actors in the 2004 movie "Anchorman."

For years, those four have outshone Rudd, but this month finds him on the cover of April's Vanity Fair -- a spot reserved for Hollywood A-listers -- along with his "I Love You Man" co-star Jason Segel, "Pineapple Express" lead Seth Rogen and "Superbad" standout Jonah Hill.

"I'm thrilled to be kind of labeled with those guys, because I think they're all talented and funny," Rudd told Reuters. "I'm honored to be a pledge in the 'Frat Pack'."

In "I Love You, Man," Rudd plays a recently engaged real estate agent named Peter with no close friend to serve as "best man" at his wedding. Peter sets out to find a friend, meeting the brash but always fun Sydney Fife (Segel).

But as Peter and Sydney spend more and more of their time together, his fiancee begins feeling left out.

The movie exposes how pop culture words "bromance" and "mandate" can be when describing male friendships because nothing truly compares to a love relationship.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Paul Rudd poses at the premiere of the movie "I Love You, Man" at the Mann's Village theatre in Los Angeles March 17, 2009. The movie opens in the U.S. on March 20. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>