Writer: Mike White (Screenplay)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement, Luke Wilson, Shazi Raja
Plot: A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices.
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Wonderful Experience
Story: Brad’s Status starts as Brad (Stiller) is looking at his college friends Craig (Sheen), Billy (Clement), Jason (Wilson) and Nick have done since college, being major successes in their fields, while Brad still works his inferior job, living the life he never imagined, married to Melanie (Fischer) and his boy Troy (Abrams) is about to go to college which Brad is going to help him tour them before selecting.
Learning that his son could get into Harvard but he missed the interview by a day, Brad must try to reconnect with his old friends to hopefully get his son another interview, but the more he thought of others’ lives the more he questions his own choices, driving him to push for this opportunity for his son.
Thoughts on Brad’s Status
Characters – Brad is our narrator and main character, he is reflecting on his own time in college as he sees how his life went a different way to his college friends on the dawn of his own son needing to pick his college. He sees himself in different lives, ones with more success that he has but also sees how he has more of a connection with his own son they he believes they would have with theirs. This character represents the over caring parent at times, always wanting the best for his own son because of the missed chances he had. Troy is Brad’s son, he could get into Harvard but deep down he wants to be a musician, he has a great relationship with his parents and this is one of the most important moments of his life so far. Melanie is the wife of Brad’s who misses the tour because of work but supportive in each decision. Craig, Billy and Jason are the college friends that have gone onto be successes in Brad’s eyes but they have gone onto different ventures away from Brad.
Performances – Ben Stiller gives us one of the best performance of his career, such a contemplative expressional performance that steps away from the comedy he is known for. Austin Abrams is good in this role of his son, he gives us a performance that feels like it is a high school kid about to make the biggest decision of his life. The rest of the cast all give good supporting performances which make enough impact on the story without taking away the spotlight from Stiller.
Story – The story follows Brad as he is looking at how his life could have gone for him, he gets to reflect on his own life while imagining how things could have been different in the moment of mid-life crisis without going wildly over the top. It also shows the pressure put on both parents and children when it comes selecting a college which could bring the future for the next stage of his life. We focus on how friendships drift apart over time because people change, and things will be different in our own lives in the future.
Comedy/Drama – This is a comedy drama that takes on a serious subject with the light-hearted side of comedy, over an attempted laugh a minute comedy.
Settings – The settings are in and around American colleges, we see how people are busy with their lives while the visitors must take in the environment they could experience, it has moments of being able to walk down memory road.
Final Thoughts – This is a simple and powerful movie, it takes on a serious subject of questioning our place in life when our once friends have hit a higher success mark in our own eyes.
Overall: This is a brilliant movie to experience.