#REVIEW: “ADULT BEGINNERS”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Jake (Nick Kroll), a young Tech Entrepreneur, has just dropped the ball on his big product launch, and has lost a lot of people a lot of money. His flub leads him to move back in with his pregnant Sister Justine (Rose Byrne), Husband Danny (Bobby Cannavale) and Nephew Teddy (Caleb and Matthew Paddock). Jake wants to get his life back on track, and starts by volunteering to be Teddy’s Nanny.
I have seen Adult Beginners twice now (the first time at the TIFF World Premiere last September), and it remains a wonderfully funny little Movie. The chemistry between Kroll, Byrne and Cannavale is great at all times, and they each sell their family dynamic well. While he shines through in all of his comedic moments, Kroll actually does just as well in the more dramatic sections of the Film – giving a performance his Television Fans will not at all be accustomed to. But the heart and fun of the Film comes with his interactions with the Twins playing Teddy. They are all genuinely hysterical and I only wish they added even more of it.
The Film also features a plethora of fun scene-stealing Supporting Players in the likes of Joel McHale, Bobby Moynihan, Jane Krakowski and The League’s Jason Mantzoukas. They only get a few lines each and very little Character Development, but they leave an often hilarious lasting impression on the rest of the Film.
Adult Beginners has a light aura about itself, so it should come as no surprise that it struggles with the smaller details – specifically with its large number of subplots. One involving Justine’s relationship with a female student is developed slightly, and is then inexplicably never mentioned again. Another one hinted at in the Film’s Trailer comes up more than once, but never really gets resolved. Even Jake’s own development as an individual and with Justine seems stifled. The Film has a lean 90-minute running time, but seems to need so much more in order to properly deal with all the ideas it tries to address.
This certainly is an enjoyable Movie, and is one that will not let you linger on it too long. The Lead performances and chemistry are wonderful, and the Supporting Cast has a lot of fun in their limited time on-screen. Kroll more than proves his worth here acting equally as funny as he is dramatic. The Film has some problems, but it is rare for a Film to feel so genuine the whole way through.
The Archive release ADULT BEGINNERS Friday, May 8, 2015 in select theatres and VOD.
Read our Chat with Nick Kroll here.