Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
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.
Rose Byrne and Nick Kroll play a sibling duo navigating their shared and respective crises in this warmly appealing dramedy.
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.
"Adult Beginners" doesn't reinvent the comeuppance comedy, and it's a better movie because of it.
Fittingly, the film has an adult beginning before slowly sinking into infantile platitudes.
J. R. Jones,
The early scenes are acidly funny... By the end, though, this has turned into a Tim Allen movie.
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.
It's harmless and mild and likable, but it's also a toothless comedy that should have had some bite.
If men-children like Jake don't outgrow telling their stories, their crib will feel like an artistic prison.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In other words, we're getting a nice, well-written, solid movie about people we believe would actually exist in real life.
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.
"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.
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.
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).
Adult Beginners is a darkly funny indie film about family and second chances.
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.
It glides along the surface where conversations that include the question "Are you really happy?" pass for bonding.
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.