What: Brad’s Status
Where: At a cinema near you
Who: Ben Stiller, in one of his best roles
When: Brad’s Status can now be seen anywhere in the U.S. and the UK
Why: Ben Stiller plays a middle-aged man who is going through a mid-life crisis
Ben Stiller is having a major life crisis in the new film Brad’s Status.
Ben plays Brad Bloan, a late 40’s something father of a teenage boy who is about to fly the coop and head to college. But Brad has a lot more on his mind. He’s worried that he doesn’t have enough money to take care of his family, he’s worried that his job is on the lower end of importance, he hopes that his wife Melanie’s parents (Jena Fischer) will leave him with all their money, and he’s a bit (a lot) jealous that all his schoolmates have very successful and high profile careers (one is even retired). And with all this in mind, he goes with his son to tour colleges on America’s East Coast.
It’s a father-son bonding week. Brad’s son Troy (Austin Abrams), a wanna be a musician, takes his father’s anxiety in stride. This trip, which takes from their home in California to Boston, will also test their relationship. Troy sorely wants to get into Harvard – but at the same time he’s dealing with his father’s angst and regret of not being extremely successful in his job life. We get to see Brad’s visions of all his very successful friends (Luke Wilson, Mike White, MIchael Sheen and Jemaine Clement) all very rich and successful but, unfortunately, Brad’s career choice does not come close, in fact he’s way behind these guys financially and socially. It’s his status that he’s not happy with.
‘Brad’s Status’ is a melancholy journey of one man’s lament at his perception that he is not good enough. He’s got a happy wife, a happy son, a happy home – but is there something that’s missing? And leave it to Ben Stiller to convey a man with mixed messages. Stiller nails his character – it’s a role that he was born to play. Writer and Director Mike White nails most scenes on the head, including a pivotal scene where Brad and Troy run into one of Troy’s old friends at Harvard (a perfect Shazi Anya) who opens up Brad’s eyes a bit more for him to realize that he’s not really connected to the younger generation. ‘Brad’s Status’ is a bit sad, and makes us take a long hard look at our own lives, and isn’t that what films should really do?
Review by Tim Baros
Photo from Chris Lawrance PR