BRAD’S STATUS is a quirky little dramedy that is one of Ben Stiller’s best performances and decent movies in awhile. It is also screenwriter’s Mike White’s best film in awhile too, considering that I hated the film that he wrote earlier this year called Beatriz at Dinner. In fact I related to this film quite a bit, not that I’m having a mid life crisis or anything. But the movie gives certain thoughts to, what is it to be successful? Does money make us successful or is it who we are, or a little bit of both? What do we truly value? Granted many films have done this, and to judge a film like this now you would have to consider the journey and the way the film tells the message. And for the most part it does a really good job.
I’m not saying this film is a masterpiece, far from it, but it is a very very good Netflix watch. The film is about a dad, played by Stiller, who takes his 17 year old son to college campus’s including Harvard, seeing where his musical prodigy son would like to go. Along the way he has a minor mid life crisis, finding out who is really is, what friendship truly is, and what is his purpose. The film, throughout the whole thing, has a very calm and insightful narration by Ben Stiller that really drives the movie. If it didn’t have it I don’t know if the movie would’ve been as good. The conversations that Stiller has with his wife, son, himself, and others feel real, and feel like we could be having them with the people we know, which is always a good thing in any movie.
Throughout the film, Stiller wonders why he isn’t as successful as his successful and rich friends played by Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson, Mike White, and Jermaine Clement. All of these roles are mostly glorified cameos, but each does a good job with what they are given, especially Luke Wilson who has displayed more emotion in a phone call with Stiller than he has in his last 5 films. The one that gets the short straw is Jenna Fischer, however not because of her performance, which I have a feeling that if it were expanded she’d be the most interesting character in the film, it’s because she isn’t given that much to do. Which is a shame because I really like Pam and think she could do great things beyond The Office.
The films is short, just over 95 minutes, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It doesn’t try to wrap everything up in a nice bow either, which I usually always appreciate. I wouldn’t buy this at all, however I would put it as background noise again, or watch it again with someone that actually is having a mid life crisis, and whose life isn’t so bad as they think it is. So the status of this film for me? Good. And sometimes good is all you need.