Brad’s Status

MOVIE

  • 30 Sep - 06 Oct, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • TIME OUT


Brad’s Status might be the most Ben Stillerish movie Ben Stiller has ever made, which is a great thing. However, writer/director Mike White recognises that innate contradiction and reconciles it in the biting satire, giving Stiller a juicy role that is sharply funny and surprisingly poignant.

Despite the specific nature of the character Stiller plays, the movie finds a universality in the uncomfortable truths it explores: the human tendency to take stock, especially around middle age, and to compare our lives against both our friends’ achievements and our youthful visions of our future selves.

Brad lives a comfortable life in Sacramento with his wife, Melanie played by Jenna Fischer, and run a non-profit, which happens to be an extension of his lifelong idealism. He has a teenage son named Troy, played by Austin Abrams, who is a musical prodigy and a thoughtful, talented kid with an obviously bright future – a rightful candidate for elite universities.

Instead of being proud and excited for his son, Brad uses the occasion to obsess over the successes of his own college friends, all of whom are doing far better than he is in his estimation. One friend that annoys Brad is Craig (Michael Sheen), an influential author and political pundit who teaches at Harvard. Sheen is whom Brad decides to take a favour from for his son, leading to the film’s most exquisitely acted scene. But in time, it becomes clear that it’s meant to illuminate the divide between Brad’s perceptions and reality, between his insecurities and his neurotic analysis of those insecurities. The films is stripped down with disjointed strings. It’s melodramatic with a curved acknowledgement of the white, male privilege on display.

VERDICT

The films is stripped down with disjointed strings. It’s melodramatic with a curved acknowledgement of the white, male privilege on display.

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