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Loot Review – Maya Rudolph leads this gorgeous, more decent billionaire comedy | Television

IIf I were to choose a moment to release a TV series that not only asks for, but demands sympathy for, a billionaire who is so obscenely rich that she is the third richest woman in America, I’m not sure if I would launch the slap- bang in the midst of a violent cost-of-living crisis. Still, Loot (Apple TV +) has an ace up her sleeve in the form of Maya Rudolph, who plays Molly Novak, soon Wells, also soon one of the most famous cheating wives in the western world.

Molly is married to a technology baron, John Novak (Adam Scott, who really puts down the work for Apple TV + after Severance), and lives an airy, remote life with ultra-privileges and abundance. They have a mansion so big that it makes the Selling Sunset team look like the real estate agent who once gave me an apartment without a sink, “but you can brush your teeth over the bathtub”. (I lived there for two years.) When she realizes that John has had an affair with a much younger woman, she drives away from the marriage in one of their many color-coordinated supercars, and gets $ 87 billion in divorce.

After the necessary but uneven staging of the first episode, where Molly and John’s lavish lifestyle is played for quite hollow laughter – a megayacht with a full-time crepe chef! An extra swimming pool for dogs! The seal itself! – it’s starting to add up to a much better and far warmer show than it first seems to be. Given that it was created by Parks and Rec alumni Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard, and Parks and Rec was perhaps the hottest show that has ever existed, this should not be too much of a surprise.

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Molly’s scenes as a new sign, parties in Berlin, Phuket and Rio, live out the hedonistic youth she never got to experience, are funny, so are the theme costumes, but it is not until she starts looking for a life the purpose of it begins to be very interesting. Molly has not worked since she left college, but discovers that at one point a charitable foundation was created in her name, with her money. Now, she decides, it’s time to roll up her sleeves and go into the office.

Although it is initially disguised as a satire on the ultra-rich, the authors are smart enough to realize that this is low-hanging fruit, and that it actually turns out to be a sweet ensemble comedy in the workplace. Molly is a tone-deaf, immovable elitist whose attempts to strengthen the good work of her foundation are truly terrible. When she gave a misunderstood speech at the opening of a new women’s home, I cringed so hard that I was in danger of pulling a muscle. Do you think it would be impossible for Molly to come up with a new version of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies suitable for that situation? Think again.

It is all handled with extremely good taste. Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), who runs the foundation and does the unglamorous work of raising money, campaigning and counting elected officials for their attention, is the voice of reason, a balance between Molly’s foolishness, although it often nods to the celebrity’s appeal. culture and how grotesque it is that a famous name can sometimes get more done just because of their notoriety. When you think it’s getting too saccharine, and Molly gives her most emotional speech about life and loss, Sofia pops up the bubble. “I’m sorry, I do not care about any of that,” she says. It is perfectly pitched.

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Loot, who is the MacKenzie Scott story in several ways, needs Rudolph’s appeal to make it work, and she’s extraordinary here. But one of the lessons Molly has to learn is that not everything is about her, and the supporting roles make it easy for viewers to understand. It has a sense of humor – Molly’s stint on Hot Ones, the spicy wings interview program on YouTube, is a treat – but it also strikes the right notes when it comes to feelgood stuff. The threads of friendship are genuinely touching, and it even nods to the space com, even if this does not dominate or take over. Ultimately, it’s about a bad person, or at least a naive person, trying to get better.

Is it a bit of a preacher? In a way. Does it secure the bet? Often. But towards the end of the series, it’s done enough to make you care about the characters. In the finale, released in a few weeks, it finds a more radical voice than its jokes about spas and private jets may have led you to believe it would, while retaining its gentle, more amiable.

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