I'm tempted to say, that Ruffolo has yet to do any truly outstanding acting worthy of grand stardom or acclaim, but I think most people find Ruffolo's characters generally like-able and playing roles as a relatable every man. Some emotion, some passion but nothing extreme.
And I think Ruffolo owes his name recognition and branding to the variety of types of films he's been in, everything from 13 Going on 30 opposite Jennifer Garner, to a soldier in John Woo's Windtalkers, roles in artistic films like Blindness, or small dramatic films like We Don't Live Here Anymore or You Can Count on Me.
And I feel like Ruffolo's greatest role to date in my book is his performance in David Fincher's Zodiac. This was good casting, and Ruffalo did a great job.
It seems to me that 2010 is a year that Ruffolo's exposure as a "serious actor" really is hitting the test. He has already performed the role of Chuck Aule in Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island (pictured right), and he has the lead male role in the anticipated award contender The Kids Are All Right (pictured above).
In The Kids Are All Right Ruffolo plays the sperm donor of two children who re-enters the scene when the children are older. This is the type of role that if embraced could lead to some high awards recognition for Ruffolo.
In addition to this there's the small film Margaret finally coming out, as well as Ruffolo's directorial debut Sympony for Delicious. Oh yea, and that Steve Carrell/Tina Fey project Date Night.
I haven't heard Ruffolo's name being tossed around for any substantial future projects, although it does seem like he's been busy.
So after this year, I think studios get to decide, who is Ruffolo, and is his name worth throwing on the poster and placed in a prominent role, and if so, what type of films...is he a romantic comedy fluff actor, an indie house favorite, or can he carry a detective thriller.