Ruddtrospective #21: The Best Paul Rudd Movie?

Spoilers for Ideal Home, which might be the best Paul Rudd movie I’ve watched so far. You really should watch this before reading the review. I think it’s great.

Ideal Home(2018) stars Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan, Jack Gore, and Jake McDorman. It also features Kate Walsh and Allison Pill. It was directed and written by Andrew Fleming.

The movie is about Paul(Paul Rudd) and Erasmus(Steve Coogan), a bitter gay couple who have to learn how to be father figures for Erasmus’s grandson Bill(Jack Gore). Erasmus is a famous TV chef, and Paul produces his show. The two of them live in New Mexico together. Bill shows up and it is revealed that Erasmus has a son named Beau, due to one heterosexual encounter years ago. Beau was arrested for drug possession, and in the meantime he decided to send his son to temporarily live with the father he never met until he could get released. Bill is initially incredibly resistant to Paul and Erasmus’s attempts to help him. He spends a large amount of time not speaking and never tells them his name. And when they finally find out that his name is Angel, he tells them he hates his name and wants to be called Bill. He refuses to eat anything but Taco Bell and makes Paul go insane.
Paul is very upset to learn that his partner has a grandson he never knew about, and he’s even more upset that he ends up having to take care of him for the majority of the time while Erasmus works on the show. So from there it’s basically a fish out of water comedy about two guys trying to learn how to do something they never thought they’d have to do. And a kid who’s spent the majority of his life on the road with his dad has to learn how to be in one place and trust that they have his best interest in mind. It’s sweet and funny and my thoughts are below.

  • The movie opens on Beau(Jack McDorman) getting arrested. Jack McDorman is also in the What We Do In The Shadows TV series, which is a very funny TV show that he’s very good in. So it’s nice to see him in this too. I also completely forgot that he gets arrested because he gets stuck climbing out the window with no pants on, so the police have to see his very tight underwear when they arrest him. So now Angel has to go live in Santa Fe with his grandpa.
  • This whole movie is just Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan bickering with each other. In very stylish clothing, too.
  • There’s a very funny bit where Paul Rudd talks about how he could’ve worked with Rachael Ray if he wanted to, and how she’s much nicer than Erasmus.
  • Kate Walsh cameos as a very self-obsessed rich friend of Paul and Erasmus. I love Kate Walsh. She’s very funny in this, despite only having one or two scenes. Kate Walsh is a very funny and talented woman who can do no wrong. All hail Kate Walsh.
  • I love the dialogue in this movie.
  • ERASMUS: “Anyhoo, before you came along, darling, I had a son called Beau who dropped out of school, developed a drug problem. He even OD’ed at my book launching in New York.”
    PAUL: “No. How embarrassing for you.”(Said with no small degree of sarcasm.”
    ERASMUS: “Well it was embarrassing. Anna Wintour was there.”
    PAUL: “Wait. Where’s the father?”
    ERASMUS: “Well, according to the note, he’s in jail…? Yes. He’s in jail.”
    PAUL: “So he’s moving in?!?!”
    ERASMUS: “Uh, just keep an eye on him.”
    PAUL: “We can’t have a kid. We couldn’t even handle that little rat bastard Yorkshire Terrier. Thank God for that coyote! Problem solved! But a kid’s too much.”
  • I will say that this is a very white movie about stuck-up rich assholes trying to be less stuck-up and rich. But I feel like that’s also the point? Or it isn’t the point and this is a bad movie. But Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan are both extremely charismatic actors, and it’s great seeing them bounce off each other.
  • On his first night at Paul and Erasmus’s, Angel leaves the room they set up for him and sleeps in their car instead. The implication is that he feels safer there, but he never says it out loud. So that’s sad.
  • Paul and Erasmus go to enroll Angel in school. There’s a funny and overcast scene of them parking and walking in to the school, which is scored by foreboding and sinister music that belongs in a western. The three of them then tell the secretary they want to enroll Angel, which prompts her to ask what his name is. The three of them then stare blankly at her for an uncomfortably long amount of time, because Angel still won’t tell them his name. Then Paul asks “Would you excuse us please?” and then there’s a shot of them getting back in the car and driving away. It’s a very simple scene that makes me laugh whenever I think about it, and the look on Paul’s face totally sells it.
  • Both Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd really nail their roles in this. They play their characters as being slightly effeminate, but not in an over-the-top way that seems offensive. Obviously I don’t have the right to judge whether their performances are offensive or not. But it didn’t seem like they were trying to do a parody or be a stereotype in any way.
  • Paul Rudd has never looked better than he does in this movie. As I said before, the outfits that he wears in this are so damn fantastic.
  • Paul gets really bad panic attacks, and at one point he stops Bill from getting hit by a motorcycle. Bill doesn’t let him hold his hand when they keep walking to make sure he’s safe, and so he starts having what he thinks is a heart attack. He calls an ambulance and it is revealed that this is the ninth time he’s mistaken a panic attack for a heart attack and called an ambulance for no reason. When they get home they find Paul’s anxiety meds missing and learn that Bill stole the bottle and sold it to another middle schooler in case he gets taken by child protective services and he needs money to survive. So… heavy stuff.
  • Allison Pill, who played Kim Pine in Scott Pilgrim vs the World, plays Melissa from Child Protective Services in this. The first time she visits their house she finds a large stack of gay porn that Bill can easily access because there’s a key left in the lock. She shows them a few specific ones that stick out, but the one I find funniest is Bareback Mountain.
  • Taco Bell really gets a lot of play in this movie. It is a pretty funny idea to have a little kid who only eats Taco Bell living with a world-class chef.
  • So Beau gets out of prison halfway through the movie and decides to head to Arizona with Bill the minute that Bill settles in and enjoys living with Paul and Erasmus. Even though Beau is a horrible father who constantly puts his son in danger and relapses immediately.
  • This movie is so beautifully shot. The locations are fantastic and the choice to have this movie take place in Santa Fe really just adds an element of culture that I wasn’t expecting.
  • Paul decides to take the job with Rachael Ray and leave Erasmus, since he says their relationship was fucked up well before started living with them.
  • There is a bit of an on the nose sequence of Paul at the airport right after he leaves the airport, where he sees a bookshelf with an Erasmus book and a Rachael Ray book right next to each other, and that’s what makes him go back. But it isn’t too corny.
  • Steve Coogan spends a large amount of this movie wearing a ridiculous giant fur jacket.
  • It all ends pretty quickly and Bill gets a little fancy, but I won’t spoil it. It’s a really cute and weird and funny movie and it’s better than the vast majority of Paul Rudd’s cinematic output.

Overall Rating: 8/10(This came out the same year as Ant-Man and the Wasp! That’s so weird. He looks like a completely different person in this compared to that movie. Anyway it’s great and I’ve been gushing about it the whole time and you should watch it.)
Rudd Rating: 10/10(We’ve hit a run of great Paul Rudd performances recently, and this is very much one of them. He’s spectacular in this, showing with such ease his love and frustration for both Bill and Erasmus and the inner battle he’s constantly dealing with. What a great pick for this role.)

I hope my review moved you to track down this movie. I think it’s pretty great. Next week I plan to review one of the most beloved Paul Rudd comedies of all time. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s kind of a big deal. So look forward to that! See you then!

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