‘Loot’ review: Maya Rudolph shines in a sitcom that makes for a great weekend binge
Many of the best sitcoms of recent years follow the same basic formula: Assemble a crew of distinct and lovable characters, then have them work together to make the world a better place. Notable examples include Abbott Elementary, Parks and Recreation, and The Good Place.
Now, Apple TV+’s Loot, starring Maya Rudolph as a billionaire attempting to be a philanthropist, is also trying its hand at that formula. While its first season doesn’t completely reach the levels of shows like Abbott Elementary, Loot still has a ton of charms and laugh-out-loud moments guaranteed to make it a comforting sitcom binge.
All hail Maya Rudolph!
Maya Rudolph kills it in “Loot.”
Credit: Apple TV+
First and foremost, Loot is a reminder of what a star Rudolph is. (As if we’d ever forget.) She plays Molly Novak, the wife of tech billionaire John Novak (Adam Scott). Early on in Loot‘s first episode, Molly discovers John has been cheating on her. She gets $87 billion in the subsequent divorce, then spends her time clubbing with her assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) everywhere from Berlin to Phuket to Rio.
However, Molly’s partying comes to a halt when she realizes she has a philanthropic foundation. Determined to do something with her life (and also stick it to John), she decides to get more involved in the foundation’s efforts — much to the chagrin of its no-nonsense director Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez).
Whether Molly is mourning her husband’s infidelity or giving a disastrous speech at a charity event, Rudolph keeps us locked in. She plays Molly not as a billionaire caricature, but as a someone with genuinely good intentions whose out-of-touch lifestyle keeps getting in the way. Rudolph also delivers some killer comedic set pieces. A scene where Molly goes on Hot Ones and promptly loses her mind is a perfect showcase for Rudolph, as well as a nice callback to a Saturday Night Live sketch that sees Rudolph as Beyoncé struggle with the spicy gauntlet.
Loot‘s ensemble is a treasure.
The excellent ensemble of “Loot.”
Credit: Apple TV+
Rudolph may be Loot‘s main character, but she certainly isn’t the only one shining in this show. Rodriguez, so excellent in Pose, finds hilarity in Sofia’s intensity. Her earnestness and devotion to the foundation make her a perfect foil to Molly, especially in the early episodes where Molly is not quite as dedicated as she claims she is.
Elsewhere, Booster’s ability to fire off one-liners like nobody’s business serves him well as Molly’s devoted assistant Nicholas. However, as the season progresses, Nicholas begins to let his walls down around certain foundation members, giving Booster a chance to sink his teeth into Nicholas’s softer side. He crushes it.
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Rounding out our ensemble cast are Ron Funches as Howard, Molly’s cousin who works at the foundation, and Nat Faxon as Arthur, the foundation’s accountant. Funches’s Howard is a ray of optimism and enthusiasm throughout, and he and Booster play exceptionally well off of each other as Howard and Nicholas become unlikely friends. Faxon is a nicely low-key contrast to the show’s other performances. Arthur is as mild-mannered and sweet as they come, and he and Molly hit it off in what is sure to be Loot‘s sitcom-required will-they-won’t-they romance.
Loot is predictable, but it has potential.
Joel Kim Booster and Ron Funches are always a fun scene pairing.
Credit: Apple TV+
Just like with Molly and Arthur’s blossoming romance, Loot treads sitcom ground we’ve seen before. Plotlines and character beats are clear from the jump, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it just tones down the excitement a bit.
Loot is most interesting when it’s exploring the challenges Molly and Sofia face when trying to make positive change. Molly can’t just throw all her money at a problem to make it go away: There’s red tape to cut and hoops to jump through. However, there’s also a cynical undertone to Loot‘s approach to billionaire philanthropy. This undertone surfaces in a satisfying way in Loot‘s Season 1 finale, cutting through all the show’s yachts and jet-setting and extravagance. It’s a great way to end Loot‘s inaugural season, and a sign of good things to come for the show’s already-announced second season.