Brad’s Status (M)
Rating: 4 / 5
After the success of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, it is no secret that Ben Stiller excels in a witty, inner-dialogue driven film. And while Brad’s Status doesn’t have the same ‘X factor’ as Walter Mitty, this flick about a 47-year-old father going through a midlife crisis is still a winner.
We all go through periods where we compare ourselves to our peers, but when it comes to Stiller’s character Brad, self-doubt takes a turn for the worse the night before he takes his 17-year-old son to Boston on a college scouting trip.
Naturally, this reminds Brad of his college buddies, and before long he is thinking about the singular success they have achieved. This includes a wealthy Luke Wilson, and the crème-de la crème of society’s elite, Craig Fisher (Martin Sheen), an ex-White House press secretary, author and TV personality.
Reminiscing takes Brad on a flood of melancholic thoughts, and through the movie, which takes place over three days, he is driven by his self-indulgent observations, daydreams and the pursuit of something more.
Stiller is the perfect Brad. The greying actor embodies the everyday doubts of a regular Joe who actually has a decent and happy life. His wife, Melanie (The Office’s Jenna Fischer), represents the idealistic and grounding force he takes for granted.
Brad’s existential crisis comes out in Stiller’s interactions with a capable cast (particularly newcomer Shazi Raja), but it is given gusto by the handheld-style filming of his everyday actions and a soundtrack that is perfectly in tune with his inner state of being. A relatable and enjoyable flick.