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Lisa Kudrow, my best Friend

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lisa-kudrow-paper-manImage Credit: Myles AronowitzIf I were Phoebe Buffay on Friends, strumming my guitar at Cafe NervosaCentral Perk, I would sing an ode to Lisa Kudrow, O Lisa Kudrow, the one Friend I would love to friend in real life! The elegantly funny, expressive performer — super-smart about playing less-than-self-aware women, and empathetic in her  portrayal of exasperated ladies — can currently be seen in the droll, way-too-overworked indie Paper Man, about a middle-aged novelist who can’t write. Actually, Kudrow mostly can’t be seen, since the movie is in such limited theatrical release. But when Paper Man comes to Netflix, where it belongs, I commend it to your queue: The story is labored (like a failed novel), but Jeff Daniels (as the struggling author), Emma Stone (as a local lass), and Ryan Reynolds (as an imaginary superhero) are delightful. And as the novelist’s surgeon wife, managing adult life chores while her husband wallows in a suspended adolescence, the glorious Lisa K does that thing she does best: She plays a woman whose conversation suggests there are far more interesting things going on her head than what might come out her mouth.

With an emotional palette chosen to suit the movie, the result is the creation of a character who is a serious, competent wife trying to make sense of a husband apparently regressing into childishness.  But shade her performance another way, and Kudrow becomes hilariously self-involved, blithely unreliable therapist Dr. Fiona Wallice in the tasty, bite-sized online comedy Web Therapy. Kudrow developed this genius little slice of web madness with Don Roos, the creatively like-minded filmmaker in whose features (including The Opposite of Sex and Happy Endings) the actress regularly appears. As reported on Deadline Hollywood, in an interesting loop-the-loop of mediums, Showtime has announced it will be broadcasting episodes of Web Therapy on cable TV next year. That’s great news for the army of fans who think of Kudrow as our pal, too.