Film Review: Slow Learners

Adam Pally and Sarah Burns

People are talking about how the superhero-movie cycle is burning itself out through overuse, the same formula repeated with different-colored capes. We’ll see what happens, but another format out there is getting at least as much play. I refer to the improv-based comedy film, for which one needs only a slim premise, a loose atmosphere, and a cast peopled with alumni of sketch groups such as the Groundlings or Upright Citizens Brigade. The style is dominant in big movies, Sundance-scaled films, and small screens. And it has a key distinction the superhero genre can’t claim: These projects have rewarded a series of women in big roles, from Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy to the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler axis of power.

Slow Learners is another of these, and it has the genre’s conventions: eccentric conversational tangents, inspired riffing, and a performing style that goes for the zany topper instead of character consistency.

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