Title – Brad’s Status (2017)
Director – Mike White (Year of the Dog)
Cast – Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement, Luke Wilson, Shazi Raja
Plot – Struggling with his lot in life, middle-aged father and husband Brad Sloan (Stiller) takes a trip with his soon to be college-aged son Troy (Abrams). As the two bond over life and the future, Brad struggles to keep his focus on the things that matter most.
Review by Eddie on 05/08/2018
In a long-standing career that has spanned a number of comedic touchstones, Ben Stiller has in his later age taken a hold of the mantle of the go to man for roles that require some middle aged musings on life, love and the great wide world.
Very much continuing on this trend that has seen the funnyman shy away from the Something About Mary’s and the Meet the Parent’s of this world and instead feature in such films as Greenberg, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, While We’re Young and The Meyerowitz Stories, Mike White’s Brad’s Status see’s Stiller playing mid-life crisis suffering Not-For-Profit worker Brad Sloan on a trip with his son Troy, as the two begin to decide where Troy will go to college as Brad suffers from regrets and thoughts about his life weighed up against his seemingly more successful friends.
Produced by Brad Pitt, there’s certainly nothing new about this type of film, we’ve seen this thing done a million times before but there’s a sincerity to White’s film, both in its direction and writing and while it’s not always easy to nod in agreement to Brad’s internal life musings and bewailing of his life that really isn’t that bad, Brad’s Status remains a relatable and touching examination of what the important things in life are and that no matter how hard we try, there’s no turning back the clock on our past; the decisions are made, the decisions are final.
Importantly also for the film, it finds Stiller operating near the top of his game as he brings Brad to life, it’s a performance that requires more than we’re use to from the well-regarded performer and his interplay with Austin Abram’s Troy provide the film with some of its real highlights, whether the two are simply having fun or whether they are engaged in a more confrontational manner, Brad and Troy are the heart and soul of the film and ensure that we as an audience are constantly invested in their slice of life tale.
White has made sure these two centrepieces aren’t alone in this character driven story as we get some brief yet memorable turns from the likes of Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson and Jemaine Clement as Brad’s grown-up college buddies while female co-stars Jenna Fisher and Shazi Raja make their marks with relatively brief supporting turns.
Brad’s Status is the type of project that clearly resonated with its cast and it shines forth in the ensemble right the way through.
Final Say –
A small film in many ways but one that has some heartfelt and moving examinations of life as we know it, Brad’s Status is an easy watch with an all-round collection of solid performances and is one of the best films Mike White has been a part of outside of his involvement in School of Rock, The Good Girl and cult TV show Freaks and Geeks.
3 1/2 Harvard hoodies out of 5
I’ve been enjoying Stiller’s stranger side of film now that he’s exploring the mid-life crisis years. Brad’s Status is another good example, and the simple truth of averageness is hauntingly fascinating.
He really does this type of role well! This was one of his more enjoyable films of recent years I thought.