Dazzling on his recently concluded Kroll Show in multiple caricatures, Nick Kroll makes a savvy pivot to a role that allows for similar shades. He’s Jake, a rich-dick entrepreneur who, after his Google Glass–like wearable fails to launch, becomes a penniless pariah. He retreats to his childhood home on Long Island and engages in catty rebonding with sister Justine (Rose Byrne), while also taking awkward care of her child.
Adult Beginners isn’t as broad as that sounds. Like last year’s equally promising The Skeleton Twins, it soars whenever it sticks to persuasively lived-in sibling banter (Byrne is sharp as ever), and the subtext of chastened hubris plays tartly against the domestic failings of Justine’s false angel of a cuddly husband, Danny (Bobby Cannavale). You’ll wish the movie didn’t resort to some metaphorical swimming lessons and that big office speech from a zillion less-accomplished efforts.
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