Thursday, April 30, 2015

[Review] Adult Beginners

Adult Beginners is A Duplass Brothers Presentation and the feature debut of new director Ross Katz. The list of comedic talent here is pretty vast: Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne (who was hilarious in Neighbors), the always amusing Bobby Cannavale, and appearances from Jane Krakowski (Jacqueline from "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), Mike Birbiglia, and Joel McHale. This looks good on paper, however, the film is disappointingly a little too light and forgettable.

Jake (Kroll) lives recklessly and his life is crumbling apart. He totally falls into the "man-child" category. After failing at his tech job, he temporarily moves in with his 'grown up' and well-to-do (and currently pregnant) sister, Justine (Byrne, pulling off an American accent again). Jake spends most of the time sitting on the couch and babysitting Justine's other kid.

The script has few bright spots, but there isn't much of a solid plot, aside from Jake figuring out what he's going to do with his life. His character isn't very likable, nor is he unique or interesting enough to get by with being unlikable. The whole thing possesses the brevity and feel of a modern sitcom that isn't all that funny, and it actually seems longer than it is. There's an unwelcome amount of flat lines that someone probably thought were clever. And the story tries to go for some somber emotional moments, but they don't really payoff or hit too hard, given the lack of substantial material in everything that came before.

It's finely watchable, but it doesn't have the stakes, the developed characters, or the comedic and dramatic heft as something like last year's The Skeleton Twins. I'm not going to call Adult Beginners a soiled diaper--It's just more of a dud.


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