Nick Kroll isn’t generally known for playing warm, sympathetic characters. Take, for example, his sitcom characters from The League, a shallow and selfish lawyer, and Parks and Recreation, an abrasive radio shock-jock who calls himself The Douche. But in Adult Beginners, the festival dramedy from director Ross Katz, Kroll plays someone you might actually root for—a humbled New Yorker named Jake who retreats to his childhood home after a professional disaster to crash with his pregnant sister (Rose Byrne) and her husband (Bobby Cannavale). To kill some time and justify his freeloading, Jake agrees to babysit his 3-year-old nephew, a responsibility that he isn’t initially qualified to handle.
But if Adult Beginners was just a litany of clueless-male-with-kids jokes, punctuated by Kroll’s piercing sarcasm and deadpan delivery, it would just be Big Daddy. Adult Beginners digs deeper, and the exclusive new trailer for the film, which screens next week at SXSW and opens April 24, has a Skeleton Twins vibe to it, with the siblings’ renewed relationship challenging both of them to ask serious questions about their lives and happiness. Maybe it flirts with melodrama, but that’s why you hire comedy all-stars like Bobby Moynihan, Joel McHale, and Jason Mantzoukas—to keep things unpredictable, and when forced to choose, always, always, always go for the laugh.