He’s done stand-up as “Bobby Bottleservice.” You’ve seen him hanging out in a hot tub with Antonio Gates in The League. He’s played radio DJs on both Reno 911! (El Chupacabra) and Parks and Recreation (The Douche). He’s written for Chapelle’s Show, used to be the writing partner of John Mulaney, is the current romantic partner of Amy Poehler, and studied at both Upright Citizens Brigade Theaters. Nick Kroll has accomplished so much in his 36 years, but with Kroll Show now over and the final season of The League airing this fall, audiences have been wondering: What’s next? The comedian takes that next step today, with the release of the indie comedy Adult Beginners.
In the film, Kroll stars as Jake: a cocky businessman whose new company spectacularly fails before it even begins. His girlfriend leaves him, his investors threaten him, and he loses his cushy Manhattan home. With nowhere left to turn, Jake leaves the Big Apple to stay with his pregnant sister Justine (Rose Byrne), her husband Danny (Bobby Cannavale), and their three year-old Teddy in the suburbs. Jake tells himself how important and noble it is to help out his gestating sibling, until he finds himself becoming Teddy’s nanny; a job for which he is ill suited. What started as an opportunity to get back to his old way of life quickly becomes a growing experience for Jake, as he learns that genuine personal connections can bring more joy than wealth ever did.
While many people know the wackier side of Nick Kroll, the Georgetown Alum’s intellectual and emotional sides also shine through in Adult Beginners. While Kroll didn’t write the script, the story and much of the humor in the film is his doing. With this film, Kroll shows that his comedy can be thoughtful as well as entertaining; not always an easy thing to do. Rose Byrne once again serves as a perfect, flexible foil for Kroll’s callous buffoonery, as does her real-life boyfriend: the ever-imposing Bobby Cannavale. Also playing to his niche is co-star Joel McHale, who plays Jake’s obscenely vapid best friend, Hudson. While trying to discover his true self, each of these characters pulls Jake in a different direction: Justine stimulates his nurturing side, Danny awakens his sense of responsibility, and Hudson tries to lure him back into his previously shallow ways.
The result is a clever and extremely relevant examination of how the pursuit of professional success doesn’t equal personal fulfillment. Sometimes it takes the three year-old hiding deep inside everyone to make us realize how immature we’ve been acting. Find showtimes and tickets for Adult Beginners here, or find it on Video On Demand today.