Starring Adam Pally, Sarah Burns, Kevin Dunn, Cecily Strong
Viewers will know exactly what to expect form this film by the end of the opening. Comedians Adam Pally (The To Do List) and Sarah Burns (Life As We Know It) play really nice, but still second rate versions of former Saturday Night Live's (SNL) cast members Andy Samberg and Kristin Wiig. In fact there are current and former SNL members sprinkled throughout the nerdy comedy. For what could have been just another overextended comedy skit movie, Slow Learners actually has some unique moments and genuine laughs. When the leading male asks a blind date the real reason she wants to end the date early, her brutally honest explanation (which I won’t spoil) is priceless, borderline hysterical and creates a nice pace for the remainder of the film.
Jeff (Pally) plays a high school guidance counselor in Media, Pennsylvania where his best friend Anne (Burns) is the librarian. Both friends are singles, who are unlucky at love due to their failure to grasp the concept of “cool behavior” or “blending in.” They also want what they don’t have and when they are finally turned on to the idea of getting what they want their hormones race out of control. They ditch the khaki pants and cardigans for skinny jeans, t-shirts, and bikini straps. What begins as a journey together to become “sex in the bathroom type of people,” ends up as a walk on the wrong wild side.
If this is the next evolution of the “rom-com,” cinema is better for it.
Slow Learners suggests that there are more of us that feel like nerds and outcasts than those of us who consider ourselves to be in the “cool group.” Of course the amount of nerdy behavior we find the leads in is extreme, just as the transformation they make over the summer turns out to be. The comedy is at its weakest when it fires off a barrage of examples to show how risky our former nerds have become. Yes, there is a dinner scene that gets the comedy back on track as food is devoured in the most animalistic way. Burns gets most of the films laughs with a comedic performance that is more Kristen Wiig than Melissa McCarthy.
I don’t give out laughs easily or freely, so the handfuls of audible laughter Slow Learners squeezed of me is a credit to the screenwriting and the performances. The film also has a romantic element to it that’s extremely predictable (these two weirdos are perfect for each other). Yet if this is the next evolution of the “rom-com,” cinema is better for it. Slow Learners isn’t without its own stupidity but it gets so many elements right including a very good supporting cast including Catherine Reitman as the best friend and Kevin Dunn as the father. The small town of Media also plays a very crucial part to the films overall charm.
– Charming yet borderline hysterical.