Adult Beginners – A lighthearted dramedy with a stellar cast
Directed by: Ross Katz
Jake (Kroll) just lost all of his (and more than a few other people’s) money in a failed tech investment. To help himself pick up the pieces, he decides to go home to the house he grew up in. The only problem with that is his sister Justine (Byrne) lives there with her husband Danny (Cannivale) and their three year old son Teddy (Paddock). In order to not be a weight on his sister and her family, Jake agrees to nanny Teddy in exchange for Justine “Helping him feel better”.
There are many familiar story arcs and characters in “Adult Beginners”. Moving home to re-find inner peace, relationship difficulties, and middle aged people learning life lessons. We have seen all of this before, but with the stellar cast and funny, tender screenplay from Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive this film stands on it’s own. The pairing of them with first time director Ross Katz and the indie superstars that are the Duplass brothers is very successful, and yielded what I am sure will be an on demand hit.
As you would expect, the whole cast is very good. Rose Byrne, in particular, turns in a very strong performance, in a role that demands not only heart but some comedy chops as well. It was also nice to see Nick Kroll show a bit of a softer side (although the sarcasm is still definitely there). The relationship between the two of them was one of my favorite aspects of the movie. They play off of each other very well, and have great on-screen chemistry.
Again, “Adult Beginners” doesn’t really break any new ground. It does however work as a heartfelt comedy, and for a debut film Katz can be proud of. The movie is honest, funny, and intelligent.