In case you hadn't heard, People magazine has named Paul Rudd its Sexiest Man Alive for 2021.
But fans of "Clueless" have known this since 1995, when he stole our hearts (and Cher's, played by Alicia Silverstone) in the classic comedy.
Rudd, who was just the right combination of hunky and goofy, was a perfect fit for Cher in the film, even if it took both of them a little while to figure it out. For one thing, it would have been odd and awkward for them to recognize feelings for each other while they were stepbrother and sister. Fortunately, they were in a perfect position to be the new Beatrice and Benedick (check out "Much Ado About Nothing" one of these days) after their parents' split.
It also meant that Josh could hang out at Cher's house without it being too weird. That gave us plenty of opportunities to see him being an Amnesty International T-shirt wearing, Friedrich Nietzsche-reading, tree-planting decent guy who's also at complete odds with shopaholic, ladder-climbing Cher. His music bums her out (he's into emo college songs), her MTV-over-CNN watching irritates him. She calls him a "brown-noser" and he thinks she's a "superficial space cadet."
They spar like an old married couple even before they've shared a kiss.
And yes, we do know that their entire relationship ooks some people out. It's true that there's an age differential and that they were once related, but let's put that aside because first, it's a comedy. Second ... Paul Rudd. The man with a perfect coif of thick dark hair, intense eyes, easy smile and a youthful look that we can glance back at today, over 25 years later and think, "He hasn't changed a bit!"
(Of course Cher doesn't even think he's "cute in a conventional way," which just shows she really is clueless.)
But we also love how he's able to play the subtle relationship change between them once she figures out that he's the right guy for her — and makes moves to make herself a better person. He's able to slide from snark to sincere in a snap, and make it all feel completely believable. When they finally have their heart-to-heart talk and he admits she's beautiful, he does it in a sweet, begrudging way that lets us know he's thought that all the time. And that maybe, just maybe, the reason he's been hanging out at the house so much is that he wants to see her.
Even if he hasn't admitted it to himself until just now.
That's not an easy needle to thread. Until now, Josh has been the anti-Cher, but also her best foil and maybe even a better buddy than her school friends. Seeing him open up to her is as much about them figuring out their relationship as it is about him figuring out things about himself.
And that, whether you've got a gorgeous head of hair or eyes with a spark in them or not, is downright sexy.
Plus, let's not forget about their kiss! The way he darts in when she playfully pushes at him, the way they hesitantly smile at one another as if to say, "We're really doing this, right?"
In those moments, he might as well be kissing all of us.
And that is why we've known for decades what People magazine just figured out: Paul Rudd is the sexiest man alive!