Maya Rudolph’s Apple TV+ comedy series is big on learnings but still on laughs

Booty ★★★

Shortly after Molly Novak (Maya Rudolph) discovers that her husband, tech billionaire John (Adam Scott), is cheating on her, she drinks herself to oblivion in Berlin, Phuket and Rio. At the end of this 10-part comedy series, which is more learning than laughing, she drinks muddy water in an effort to save the planet.

The title loot is jaw-dropping: Molly secures an $87 billion divorce settlement, enough to secure the services of David Chang (who is still and only referred to by Molly as “David Chang”) as home chef. As one breakfast host put it, who wouldn’t trade a man for all that money.

Molly (Maya Rudolph) and accountant Arthur (Nat Faxon) and the llama in Loot.Credit:AppleTV+

But hedonism quickly loses its appeal. The descent “and now” lasts much longer, and that’s really what Booty is about.

Emerging from the long period of bending, Molly realizes that there is a charitable foundation bearing her name and decides to get involved. She makes a hash of it before finding a way to turn what she’s good at — partying and spending money — into a foundation for good works.

Along the way, she helps those in charge – including General Manager Sofia (Michaela Jae Rodriguez, of Laid) and accountant Arthur (Nat Faxon) – to relax a bit. In return, they teach him to be less selfish. Even his snippy assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) develops the beginnings of a heart.

Molly with her assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) and cousin Howard (Ron Funches).

Molly with her assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) and cousin Howard (Ron Funches).Credit:AppleTV+

Maya Rudolph is a real comedic talent, but other than those early party scenes, she’s on a pretty tight leash. Molly’s blunders are spectacular — like handing out fancy gift bags at the opening of a homeless shelter, or totally losing the plot in a chilli-eating contest with interview on YouTube — but she quickly learns to avoid the worst of them. It’s a victory for her, but a loss for viewers.

Booty might as well have been called The education of Molly Novak; he is far more interested in his discovery of purpose than in finding the funny in his ignorance. His ethical journey finally delivers a pretty solid payoff, but I can’t help but think he would have been more persuasive had he delivered a few more gags along the way.

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