Review: LOOT, First, You Laugh
The divine Maya Rudolph stars in a snappy comic series, created by Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard, premiering this week on Apple TV+.
Now that she's the third-wealthiest woman in the world, what will she do with all that money?
The first three episodes premiere globally Friday, June 24 on Apple TV+. Subsequent episodes will premiere weekly. I've seen all 10 episodes; I am a lucky man.
I'm in the bag for Maya Rudolph, but her bag is big enough for everyone.
Reteaming with Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard, the creative team who created, wrote and produced Forever (2018), a great comedy series in which Rudolph co-starred with Fred Armisen, the new series puts her front and center as Molly Novak, who is married to the fabulously successful tech billionaire John Novak (Adam Scott). Before the first episode concludes, Molly has become the most famous cheated-upon woman in the world.
Mired in grief, Molly begins to recover when she learns that she has a charitable foundation and seizes upon it to search for meaning in her shallow life. Mind, Molly herself is not a shallow person; it's just that she has been cosseted in obscene wealth for many years and has lost touch with who she was in her younger days.
In effect, Molly is reconnecting with herself, rediscovering her own passions, and remembering that she can have value in her own life, independent of whatever incredible fortune has been thrust upon her. Like many financially successful people, her motivations were never, primarily, about the money.
Instead, she wanted to support her husband, so she supported him financially until the business got on its feet. The company's runaway success surprised everyone, and then the fortune came pouring in, followed by her getting sidetracked from the business itself and separated emotionally from her husband, even as he became laser-focused on his business.
Molly herself is an incredible likable person, always gracious and kind, without a mean bone in her body. She's shocked by her husband's infidelity, and even more so by her own culpability in allowing her incredible wealth to cause her to lose touch with more common people (i.e. everybody else on the planet).
The serious dramatic themes run as a continuous undercurrent, bubbling under a continuous stream of clever, good-hearted jokes and witty bon mots, tossed off by Maya Rudolph with the greatest of ease. She's surrounded by a tight group of fellow workers at her charitable foundation whose chemistry reminded me of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, people who like each other and, gradually, come to enjoy each other's company more and more, but are primarily driven by their shared desire to do good for people who need a helping hand.
Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) is the tough as nails director of the company, who has been fighting the underfunded good fight for years; Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster), Molly's longtime personal assistant, is initially reluctant but slowly becomes a terrific ally; Howard (Ron Funches) is Molly's cousin who slowly finds his own worth too; and Arthur (Nat Faxon) is the un-hip accountant who backs up everybody and may have a thing for Molly.
The supporting cast is terrific, though my eyes were constantly on Maya Rudolph. She has a deft ability to make things funny simply by the way she delivers a line. She is also equally talented in her body language; she observes the situation that is playing out in front of her, and adjusts her posture and her facial expression accordingly.
Many times it seems like she's not doing anything at all, yet is magnetic every time she appears on screen. Her presence and performance galvanizes the consistently funny and insightful series.
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