Maya Rudolph is a comedic queen. Not only has she gained notoriety through her hilarious roles on Saturday Night Live and for her unique vocal talents, but she is also one of the most successful TV actors too (winning four Emmys for her work on SNL, the Netflix original series Big Mouth, and The Good Place – one of the best TV shows made by SNL alumni).
Rudolph has shared the screen with a plethora of comedic icons like Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and Melissa McCarthy. However, many fans will agree that there were certain partnerships that helped Rudolph exhibit her great acting range and made her movies all the more memorable (which can be reflected in their IMDb scores).
10 Bridesmaids (2011) – 6.8 – Available To Stream On DIRECTV
Bridesmaids became an instant comedy classic upon its release, with a great roster of comedic talent. Rudolph plays Lillian, the best friend of the main character Annie (Kristen Wiig), whose wedding the film centers around as Annie and Helen (Rose Byrne) viciously compete for the Maid of Honor role.
What some fans may not know is that Bridesmaids was actually nominated for two Academy Awards, including one for Melissa McCarthy as “Best Supporting Actress.” Although Rudolph didn’t get as much recognition as her co-stars, fans did come to love the dynamic between her and Wiig’s character, as well as her hilarious one-liners.
9 Away We Go (2009) – 7.0 – Available To Buy On Amazon
In one of her more dramatic roles, Rudolph plays Verona in 2009’s Away We Go, with John Krasinski teaming up with her as her partner. The couple, who is expecting their first child, decide to travel around the U.S. to try and find the perfect home for them. They meet interesting people and reconnect with old relatives and friends in touchingly funny scenes.
The esteemed, Oscar-winning Sam Mendes directs the film and adds to his already impressive resumé, alongside 1917 (2019). Rudolph’s co-stars in Away We Go include Allison Janney, Catherine O’Hara, Jeff Daniels, Jim Gaffigan, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
8 Booksmart (2019) – 7.2 – Available To Stream On Hulu
Rudolph may not actually appear onscreen in Booksmart, but she still manages to be a prominent comedic character as the “Motivational Voice” throughout the film. The story follows two overachieving best friends, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), on the eve of their high school graduation where they attempt to have all the fun they missed out on while prioritizing their studies.
Rudolph’s little tidbits of voiceover are essentially one-liners with advice intended to be serious but are ironically hilarious. Booksmart is Olivia Wilde’s first full-length feature film and also stars Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, and Billie Lourd as Gigi (arguably the movie’s funniest character).
7 The Way Way Back (2013) – 7.4 – Available To Stream On HBO Max
A beautiful tale of a lonely teen finding friendship in an unlikely companion, The Way Way Back is another more dramatic comedy with Rudolph being part of the comedic lightness. A 14-year-old boy who’s on summer vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her new boyfriend (Steve Carrell) struggles to cope.
The boy befriends Owen (Sam Rockwell), the manager of a water park, and forms a bond with him. Rudolph plays Caitlin, one of the rag-tag employees at the water park alongside Lewis (Jim Nach) and Roddy (Nat Faxon). Although it wasn’t her most memorable role, she still puts in quite a hilarious performance.
6 Luca (2021) – 7.5 – Available To Stream On Disney+
Disney Pixar’s Luca is a beautifully composed film from the same studios as classics like Finding Nemo (2003) and the Toy Story movies. The story follows Luca (Jacob Tremblay) on the Italian Riviera, who is a sea monster disguised as a human. He explores the lands with his best friend, Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), building a Vespa in one of the best montage scenes in Pixar movies, and they form an unlikely friendship with a human in the heartwarming tale.
Rudolph is the voice of Daniela, a fellow sea monster and Luca’s mother. When Luca and Alberto don’t return to the sea, Daniela and Luca’s father, Lorenzo (Jim Gaffigan), must go ashore and search for him. Once again, Rudolph’s incredible voice acting helped to provide many hilarious encounters.
5 As Good As It Gets (1997) – 7.7 – Available To Stream On Netflix
Three years before her debut on SNL, Rudolph had a small role in the two-time Oscar-winning film, As Good As It Gets, as a police officer. Many fans of Rudolph don’t think of this role because of its briefness, but with such an A-list cast, it absolutely helped pave the way to her status today.
Rudolph doesn’t necessarily get lost in the cast either because the film has a very tight focus on its central characters. The top bill includes Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Skeet Ulrich.
4 The Mitchells Vs The Machines (2021) – 7.7 – Available To Stream On Netflix
The Mitchells vs The Machines is a Netflix original animated movie that puts a funny and family-friendly spin on the robot apocalypse scenario. The Mitchells are a quirky and sometimes dysfunctional family, who set out on a road trip only for it to be turned upside down as they become humanity’s best hope at survival. This lovable family dynamic isn’t new to film with other popular family movies like The Mitchells vs The Machines having success as well.
Rudolph is the voice of Linda, the mother of Katie (Abbi Jacobson) and Aaron (Michael Rianda) and wife to Rick (Danny McBride). As viewers can expect, Rudolph plays an integral part in the film’s comedic element. She’s aided by costars Olivia Coleman, Eric André, Fred Armisen, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Blake Griffin, and Conan O’Brien.
3 Gattaca (1997) – 7.8 – Available To Buy On Amazon
Another pre-SNL Rudolph appearance, Gattaca was actually her first feature film role, which was released only a little over a month before As Good As It Gets. She plays a delivery nurse in one of her few roles whose film doesn’t involve comedy. The movie is also centered around a small central cast, so Rudolph’s role definitely isn’t lost.
Gattaca is a science-fiction thriller drama that focuses on a genetically inferior man who will do anything to make his lifelong dream of space travel come true by taking on the identity of a genetically superior man. The A-list cast includes Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law.
2 Big Hero 6 (2014) – 7.8 – Available To Stream On Disney+
Disney’s Big Hero 6 quickly warmed the hearts of audiences with its giant, lovable, marshmallow-like inflatable robot, Baymax (Scott Adsit). The Oscar-winning film tells the story of Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a tech prodigy, and his bonding with Baymax.
Rudolph voices Aunt Cass, the aunt of Hiro Hamada who became his and his brother’s mother figure after the deaths of their parents. She owns a cute bakery and coffee shop and is a beacon of support to Hiro in the film. Rudolph also puts in a memorable performance here too as her voice acting helps to make her scenes more emotional and deep.
1 Licorice Pizza (2021) – 7.9 – No Streaming Information Yet
Licorice Pizza only hit theaters Christmas 2021, but it had built immense anticipation and is up for three Academy Awards at the 2022 Oscars. Legendary director Paul Thomas Anderson of Boogie Nights (1997) and There Will Be Blood (2007) presents a story of two young people navigating through their first encounters with love.
It’s not surprising to see Rudolph in an Anderson movie given that they’re longtime partners and have four children together. Her appearance in the film is brief as a casting director in an audition for the main character Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), but her reactions throughout the scene make her, as usual, unforgettable.
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