Loot Review: A Funny, Surprising Series With A Great Lead Role For Maya Rudolph

Some people might think they have it all, but Molly Novak (Maya Rudolph) really does have it all. Twenty years into her marriage with a gazillionaire tech giant (Adam Scott), Molly is surrounded by unfathomable wealth: her house is bigger than you could ever imagine, she has a personal staff of dozens, and has more money than any one person (or most nations) could ever use. She's even gifted a gigayacht (yes, that's a real thing, but maybe don't look it up if you wish to preserve your own sanity) on her birthday during a lavish party thrown in her name. It's at this very party that Molly discovers her spectacular life isn't all it's cracked up to be — her husband is cheating on her.

Furious, Molly demands a divorce, upending her life and forcing her to start over. Okay, not exactly. There was no pre-nuptial agreement, as Molly played a vital part in getting her husband's company off the ground, and they were married before the money started flowing in, so she's left with half the money — a whopping 87 billion dollars (yes, billion). After partying around the world, Molly gets a call from Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) who runs her charity foundation — something Molly didn't even know she had, but it may just give her the opportunity to figure out her purpose. Despite some strong resistance from Sofia, Molly throws herself into the world of charity to see if she can discover who she's meant to be.

Over the years, Maya Rudolph has proven that she's one of the most reliably wonderful comedic talents in the game. Her roles in "Bridesmaids," "Saturday Night Live," and "The Good Place" have shown what a singular performer she is, and her unique perspective and gifted comic timing have made Rudolph a force. It's such a delight to see Rudolph shine in an all-too-rare lead role. Thankfully, Rudolph more than holds her own as the lead. It's a varied role that let's her show off her considerably range, delivering everything from very nuanced work, to some terrific physical comedy.

With a cost of living crisis currently ravaging so much of the world, it may feel odd that there's a new show about a woman trying to restart her life with more money than 99.9% of the world (the show claims Molly is now the third richest woman in America). Inflation continues to affect the working class at disproportionate rates, and we're expected to care about the feelings of a multi-billionaire? "Loot" could have easily felt cloying and tone-deaf, but thanks to some clever scripting and Rudolph's undeniable charisma, you actually manage to be invested in Molly's journey.

An excellent support staff

A lot of this comes from the terrific supporting cast. There's Molly's assistant/friend Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster), who would much rather be continuing their life of luxury with massages and lavish parties than help Molly work at her charity. Ron Funches shines as Molly's anime-obsessed cousin, and Funches radiates such warmth and down-to-earth charm that's a joy to behold. There's also the sweet, mild-mannered accountant Arthur (a well cast Nat Faxon), who over the first three episodes provided seems to be unfolding as a potential love interest for Molly.

What really makes "Loot" worth it is the radiant Michaela Jaé Rodriguez as Sofia. Alongside Rudolph, Rodriguez's performance and character is what allows the show to feel so relatable. As the head of Molly's charity foundation, Sofia is the polar opposite of Molly — she's intense, no-nonsense, and runs a tight ship, allowing just five minutes in Monday meetings for everyone to discuss their weekends before going back to work. Sofia is constantly crusading for the rights of vulnerable people, doing everything in her power to help as many people as she possible can in her time in this world. She initially calls Molly in to discuss her partying antics and how the headlines surrounding her have a negative impact on the charity. She never wanted Molly to get involved, and initially that seems like the right choice, as evidenced by a hysterically uncomfortable speech Molly gives at the opening of a woman's shelter in the first episode. Sofia is intense, but she also has a warm undercurrent that Rodriguez nails, and she may just be looking at her second Emmy nomination when the time comes. While Rudolph is the star, Rodriguez is the beating heart of the show.

Over the course of the first three episodes, the walls between the pair slowly start to come down, and watching their relationship develop is without a doubt the best part of "Loot." They both have a surprising amount to teach each other. In the second episode involving a surprise trip to Miami, things go awry and Sofia makes it clear just how different the lives of the charity employees are to Molly's, telling her "Our lives are full of friction." Meanwhile, Molly isn't your typical wealthy snob with her head in the clouds, though she certainly is rather delusional about things at times, and she reveals herself to have some seriously impressive people skills that may just end up benefitting Sofia and the charity she's so passionate about after all.

A welcome distraction from the world around us

"Loot" is also a real pleasure to look at. So much television seems to take joy in being various shades of grey, but "Loot" is bursting with color. Molly's mansion is one of the main locations, and its as absurd as it is beautiful, which is highlighted in a delightfully witty moment where she's seen sobbing in an outrageously luxurious candy room. The costuming is something to marvel, and its just a joy to see Rudolph look so fabulous, and her jet set eleganza look in the second episode is especially radiant. The great outfits aren't just reserved for the ladies, as Nicholas has plenty of gorgeous attire to match Molly's.

The show cleverly creates a sharp contrast from the overwhelming beauty of Molly's mansion with every other location, highlighting the vast wealth gap between Molly and her contemporaries. It would be easy to mock Molly's immense fortune, pointing out the absurd disconnect that occurs when the gap in lifestyles becomes insurmountable, and indeed, show creators and writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard do this, but it never feels mean-spirited or inappropriate. It's also a fairly minor element of the show, which is rightfully far more concerned with how people can change, and how bringing together people from different walks of life has an amazing way of bringing out the best in others. "Loot" is funny, surprising, and tender. It doesn't necessarily re-invent the wheel, but sometimes the wheel is just fine as it is.

"Loot" premieres globally Friday, June 24, 2022 on Apple TV+.