Paul Rudd Goes Big And Small In Two New Films
Big franchise film ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ goes up against little indie ‘Ideal Home’
Friday, June 29, 2018
"The Shape of Things" (2003)
"Alan Partridge" (2013)
'Ant-Man and The Wasp'
As Marvel’s Ant-Man, Rudd proves that superheroes come in all sizes. And sometimes one superhero can go from sub-atomic to gigantic. In Rudd’s latest Marvel outing he pairs with The Wasp/Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) to not just fight bad guys, but to prove the importance of family.
"Ant-Man and The Wasp" delivers predictable Marvel fare with a lot of car chases, action and special effects. But the film has some quiet time to let Rudd and Abby Ryder Fortson develop a nice rapport as Scott Lang and his daughter.
Walton Goggins stands in for the villain of the piece as Sonny Burch but he is essentially just duplicating his performance from "Django Unchained" only with less offensive language. The more interesting "villain" proves to be Ava as played by Hannah John-Kamen.
John-Kamen gives us a character who is not evil in the conventional way that Burch is. Instead she is someone who was wronged and has lost her moral compass in trying to right her situation. The film serves up three sets of father-daughter relationships with Lang and his daughter; Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope; and then Ava with her surrogate father Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne). This focus on family and extended family gives "Ant-Man and The Wasp" a little more heart than most superhero films.
The theme of family also informs Rudd’s other film opening this week, "Ideal Home."
But while "Ant-Man and the Wasp" is a huge franchise picture, "Ideal Home" is a small indie film. Rudd pairs up with Steve Coogan to play a gay couple who live and work together in New Mexico. Erasmus (Coogan) and Paul (Rudd) work together on a cooking show that Erasmus stars in. Erasmus is all ego and arrogance but somehow manages to still be likable. Paul is the responsible one who makes sure everything actually gets done.Then one night Erasmus discovers he has a grandson who needs to move in with them while the boy's father is in jail. As you might expect, this creates havoc for the couple.
The film opened this year FilmOut San Diego and took home the LGBT Film Festival’s audience awards for best comedy and best actor for Rudd.
The film drew some criticism for not casting gay actors in the roles but the fact that Rudd received an audience award for his performance suggests that at least some gay audiences are OK with a straight actor playing a gay character. This might be more acceptable in a film like this where the issues are less about sexual orientation and identity and more about discovering family ties with a very particular set of people.
It would be hard to find someone better than Coogan at playing such a narcissistic diva and still remain sympathetic, and Rudd is great at making sure that Paul never comes across as cruel no matter how mad he gets at Erasmus.
The film succeeds because Rudd and Coogan work so well together as a bickering couple that learns to grow up just a bit in the presence of their young ward.
This weekend you can choose between a big studio film with a little superhero or a little indie film with a big heart. Either way you get to enjoy Rudd — and that's a good thing.
"Ant-Man and the Wasp" opens throughout San Diego and "Ideal Home" opens at Digital Gym Cinema.
Paul Rudd can be seen in two movies opening Friday that prove size matters not: "Ant-Man and The Wasp" and "Ideal Home."
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.