Film Review: Adult Beginners

Nick Kroll and Rose Byrne in Adult Beginners (Image © RADiUS-TWC). 

Nick Kroll and Rose Byrne in Adult Beginners (Image © RADiUS-TWC). 

Since there's still a day or two before the entire country goes out to watch Age of Ultron, how about a VOD option? One decent option that has absolutely nothing to do with the recurrent destruction of New York City is Adult Beginners.

First, I have to warn you. It is yet another “adult who loses everything and moves back home” sort of film. It's also heavy on growing up and light on comedy, which makes it very surprising that the film is chock full of comedians. 

Nick Kroll is Jake, a cocky investor who manages to lose all of his money and the funds of anyone who invested in his latest scheme. His girlfriend leaves him, his buddy Hudson (Joel McHale) is useless and everyone else wants him to die in a fire. Having no recourse, he leaves the city and heads back to his hometown, hoping to crash with his sister Justine (Rose Byrne) for “two or three months”.

After a nice awkward dinner conversation with Justine's husband Danny (Bobby Cannavale), the three of them reach an agreement: Jake can stay if he becomes the nanny for his 3 year old nephew while everyone else is at work.

What follows is a story light on substance and heavy on intentions. Jake starts off selfish and incompetent and slowly matures even as he embroils himself in his sister's life, making pleasant and unpleasant discoveries both about himself and those around him.

The plot is a little jumpy, as the middle of it is more a series of scenes that work to develop Jake as he runs into people that his high-flying life failed to prepare him for. This is where a lot of people pop up, from Bobby Moynihan to Mike Birbiglia and Jason Mantzoukas. 

Honestly this isn't nearly as fun to watch as Jeff, Who Lives at Home or Our Idiot Brother, even though they all deal with similar themes. Part of it is because Kroll's characters knows how the real life works, he's just not very good at it right now. I wasn't a huge fan of it but I can certainly see how it would be a pleasant way to spend 92 minutes. If nothing else, it proves that Nick Kroll can do more than play a smarmy asshole. He can play a smarmy asshole with a love of family.