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'Adult Beginners': EW review

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Adult Beginners

Current Status:
In Season
90 minutes
Limited Release Date:
Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale
Ross Katz
Comedy, Drama

We gave it a B-

As they’ve previously shown on both the big and small screens, Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne, and Bobby Cannavale are all first-rate comedians. Each of them knows how to sell an absurd joke by pushing it past its profane breaking point with deadpan ease. Which is why I had high hopes for Ross Katz’s Adult Beginners. But the film plays it too safe, sanding down its pricklier edges in favor of cheap, feel-good sentiment. Kroll, the lizard-eyed loose cannon, stars as Jake, a shallow tech hotshot who returns to his suburban childhood home to live with his estranged sister (Byrne) and backslapping brother-in-law (Cannavale) after his start-up goes down in flames. In exchange for room and board, he reluctantly agrees to look after his 3-year-old nephew. The premise of an irresponsible jerk who redeems himself as a male nanny is a pretty wheezy one. And there aren’t enough laughs here to goose it past formulaic. It’s harmless and mild and likable, but it’s also a toothless comedy that should have had some bite. B–