Adult Beginners stars Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Caleb and Matthew Paddock, Paula Garces, Joel McHale, Jane Krakowski, Jason Mantzoukas, Bobby Moynihan and Josh Charles.
After narcissistic entrepeneur Jake’s (Kroll) new company gets dealt a huge blow the eve of it’s launch, he is forced to move back in to his childhood home where his estranged sister Justine (Byrne) lives with her husband Danny (Cannavale) and their young son Teddy (Paddock). He takes up a job as their manny while waiting for other opportunities and begins to like looking after Teddy more than he expected.
THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW
The way Adult Beginners plays out is very predictable. You can guess where each plot point will go and where it will end up. But the script, written by Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive and based on a story by Nick Kroll, is a warming one. The lead performances are all very funny and a good script makes you care for the characters, which this does. So despite the familiar feel of the film (particularly if you’ve seen last year’s very funny “estranged siblings reunite” film The Skeleton Twins), the superb and very funny lead actors heighten the quality.
Young twins Caleb and Matthew Paddock – who split screentime as Jake’s young nephew – are very funny in the movie. This wasn’t quite expected as the little child in a movie like this can often be annoying. But the pair share the role well, reminiscent of the Sprouse twins in 1999’s Big Daddy.
As great as the main cast are, a lot of the more well-known supporting cast are wasted or barely present. Josh Charles is in only a couple of scenes, the very funny stand-up Mike Birbiglia only briefly appears at the beginning, Bobby Moynihan felt almost unnecessary in his addition, Jane Krakowski and Jason Mantzoukas are great but not in the movie anywhere near enough, and Joel McHale, who appears ON THE POSTER, is in the movie for probably a grand total of 5 minutes if that. Besides Charles and Krakowski, whose inclusions actually serve a purpose to the plot, most of this supporting cast seems to have been put in purely because they’re Kroll’s friends. It is still great to see these actors but you are left wishing more was done with them.
Beyond the cast, the movie does actually have an interesting premise as explained above. The movie is also very funny, which is a huge plus in a comedy (no duhh). A lot of your enjoyment from this movie will likely depend on how big a fan you are of Nick Kroll as he gets by far the most screen time. Fan of The Kroll Show or The League? If not then of course skip it. But if you are a Kroll fan or unfamiliar with the star, then I must recommend that you: