Adult Beginners 2014

Critics score:
47 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: The pleasant but forgettable "Adult Beginners" strains a bit too hard for a happy ending, and tends to lay on the schmaltz and metaphors (like the swim class that gives the film its title) with a trowel. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: Rose Byrne and Nick Kroll play a sibling duo navigating their shared and respective crises in this warmly appealing dramedy. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: Neither dramatic enough to qualify as drama nor amusing enough to completely succeed as comedy, it's the kind of movie that coasts on pleasantness, content to elicit a few smiles before disappearing from memory banks. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: "Adult Beginners" doesn't reinvent the comeuppance comedy, and it's a better movie because of it. Read more

Peter Keough, Boston Globe: Fittingly, the film has an adult beginning before slowly sinking into infantile platitudes. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: The early scenes are acidly funny... By the end, though, this has turned into a Tim Allen movie. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The relative success or failure of "Adult Beginners," directed with a steady, nonjudgmental hand by Ross Katz, depends on how funny you find Kroll. I find him funny-ish. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: It's harmless and mild and likable, but it's also a toothless comedy that should have had some bite. Read more

John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter: Likable but slight. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: The kind of comedy that goes down easy even as it looks at the hard stuff. Read more

Amy Nicholson, L.A. Weekly: If men-children like Jake don't outgrow telling their stories, their crib will feel like an artistic prison. Read more

Katherine Pushkar, New York Daily News: The not-funny-enough dialogue can't mask writer Kroll's unoriginal plot. Still, he can smirk with the best of them. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: The director Ross Katz, making his feature directing debut, does occasionally move the camera around, but for the most part he just points and shoots his performers talking, joking, whining, sharing and caring. Read more

Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press: Perhaps it could have benefited from a little more of the comedic energy and subversive spirit that Bryne, Kroll and Cannavale have all proved more than capable of in previous roles. Read more

Molly Eichel, Philadelphia Inquirer: It's all very low stakes. We know how this is going to turn out. But it is a pleasure watching Kroll and Byrne to the end. Read more

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: In other words, we're getting a nice, well-written, solid movie about people we believe would actually exist in real life. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: It's a sitcom setup that husband-and-wife screenwriters Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive manage to (almost) cover with a fresh coat of funny and touching. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: "Adult Beginners" is one of those agreeable small-scale movies that doesn't seem particularly ambitious; its only goal is to charm, and it does so, irresistibly. Read more

Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle: "Adult Beginners" has enough going on to work as a mostly unchallenging time-passer, and nothing more. Read more

Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail: A satisfying enough slice of semi-content suburban life ... Read more

Linda Barnard, Toronto Star: Adult Beginners has no agenda for subtlety. Read more

James Rocchi, TheWrap: Another indie comedy seemingly inspired by Robert Frost's verse from "The Death of the Hired Man" about how "home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in," "Adult Beginners" has everything going for it aside from a reason to exist. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Like last year's equally promising The Skeleton Twins, it soars whenever it sticks to persuasively lived-in sibling banter (Rose Byrne is sharp as ever). Read more

Liz Braun, Toronto Sun: Adult Beginners is a darkly funny indie film about family and second chances. Read more

Marsha McCreadie, Village Voice: Married-in-real-life screenwriters Liz Flahive and Jeff Cox can do poignant (not tossing family memorabilia) and clever (connecting Skype, hairspray, and stepparents), though the humor is intermittent. Read more

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post: It glides along the surface where conversations that include the question "Are you really happy?" pass for bonding. Read more

John Anderson, Wall Street Journal: A slightly sourish cocktail of bad behavior, wry observation, and commentary on how difficult modern life can be, especially for characters who feel entitled to a better one. Read more