Loot review: Maya Rudolph has money to burn in this breezy billionaire comedy
Money can buy you everything except a reason to get out of bed in the morning. That's the hard truth facing Molly Novak (Maya Rudolph) in Loot, the new comedy about a woman whose cheating kajillionaire husband (Adam Scott) leaves her with 87 billion dollars and too much time on her hands. Bubbly and beautiful to look at, the Apple TV+ series from Matt Hubbard and Alan Yang (Parks and Recreation) gets a gratifying boost from its eccentric ensemble cast.
Eight months and 20 years after her husband started a tech company out of their garage, a newly divorced Molly haunts the echoey halls of her oceanfront mansion, drinking and cry-eating Kit Kats in her walk-in candy closet. Then an unexpected phone call reminds her that she founded a charitable foundation a few years back, and that sparks an idea: Why not give full-time philanthropy a shot? It's extremely unwelcome news for the foundation's stern and dedicated director, Sofia Salinas (Pose's Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), as well as Molly's snooty personal assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster), who'd prefer to maintain the status quo of "getting massages and buying castles online."
Some of the humor stems from Molly's exhaustive ignorance about how non-billionaires live — she hands out panini grills and scented candles at the grand opening of a shelter for unhoused women — but Hubbard and Yang lean more into the office dynamics, letting their assemblage of comedic players drive the story. Molly's cousin Howard (Ron Funches), an anime-loving optimist, handles IT for the foundation. He takes an immediate and enthusiastic liking to Nicholas, disregarding the latter's standoffish demeanor and practically willing a friendship into existence. The organization's chipper accountant, Arthur (Nat Faxon), is generally content with the simpler things in life ("I don't mean to brag, but I have a Costco membership"), and he's neither intimidated by nor resentful of Molly's wealth. As he helps Molly find her footing at work, the two develop a cute and flirty chemistry, though the writers plague their budding relationship with some basic sitcom obstacles.
With her flinty glare and sharp delivery, Rodriguez is an excellent foil as Sofia, who has no time nor inclination to deal with the tone-deaf meddling of a billionaire dilettante. There's no mystery to the arc of their relationship — Molly helps Sofia loosen up; Sofia nudges Molly toward purposefulness — but Loot's airy charm keeps even the most predictable story lines aloft.
The only puzzling thing about Loot (premiering June 24) is what's missing. For a show about a group of people at a charity organization, it spends almost no time on the people the foundation helps or the challenges they face. Molly's personal growth involves the realization that there are more meaningful things to do with her money than jetting to Montreal for a dinner date, but she stops short of acknowledging the knotty moral issues around her own extreme wealth: In a world where so many have so little, is it even ethical to be so freaking rich?
The question is impossible to avoid, but Hubbard and Yang manage to push it off for the majority of the 10-episode season. In fairness, the finale ends with a twist that could send Molly and the series in a more enlightened direction should Apple TV+ greenlight a second season. Even without that deeper layer of introspection, Loot is a hoot. Just watching Funches, Faxon, and Booster bounce their wonderfully disparate comedic energy off one another is worth the price of admission. B+
Loot premieres Friday, June 24 on Apple TV+.