This is not your usual, The League or Nick Kroll Show Nick Kroll. Adult Beginners takes you to a place where you must face the harshness of reality for yourself, but can only do so by overcoming the fictionalization of what Adult Beginners is attempting to teach in its indirect, laissez-faire storytelling. In what is essentially a surrealist comedy with underlying dramatic tension that never climaxes, Nick Kroll plays far from the class clown/comedic relief he has stereotypically become known to play, though all the while strengthening the entertainment quality of the film with just enough of that aforementioned foolishness.
Adult Beginners enlists a strong supporting cast that hardly over shadows the main characters. Bobby Maynihan (SNL), Joel McHale (Community), and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) are there just to make an appearance, but don’t actually move the plot in any way, which I found to be disappointing. This film is also only 90 minutes long, a fairly short amount a time, but sufficient enough to get the point across, just not enough for a decent cameo.
Rose Byrne brings a Judd Apatow-esque feel to the dark, and maybe overlooked seriousness that Adult Beginners none to quickly comes across as. The comedy starts strong from both the quirky Nick Kroll and the noire Rose Byrne, but then slowly drifts away from humor into a more surreal tone and contrast. Kroll, an opportune capitalist, hits rock bottom and is forced into caring for his 3-year old nephew and the boys pregnant mother, Kroll’s in-film older sister. Bobby Cannavale (Chef), plays Kroll’s brother-in-law and offers both Byrne and Kroll comfort in his character’s particular portrayal of being wrapped up in his own ego, blinded by the fact that he too might have hit rock bottom.
Despite the hurdles life throws at this family trio, they are able to jump over them and carry on, for what seems like the sake of the children, a reality that has inevitably hit many other married couples in life. But, such in life, we find ways to keep going, regardless of the purity of our intentions, we hope we are better off as we near closer and closer to the finish line.
Adult Beginners may come off as a contrived attempt at teaching us a lesson in altruism, but, in my opinion, it succeeds. In the short amount of time the movie lends to the plot, the characters still manage to cross the finish line that at first seemed like it was going to take an eternity to cross. The point is simple, if you want more out of life, focus less on your career and more on your family. You can see Adult Beginners now on iTunes and several other places on the web, or wait until this weekend to see it in theaters.