25 September 2023

Brad’s Status

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Writer/director: Mike White, Roadshow Entertainment.

Cast: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Michael Sheen, Jenna Fischer, Luke Wilson.

Director White has recognised the value of Stiller’s contribution and cast him in the title role.

Having a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban California was not quite what Brad Sloan (Stiller, Zoolander) imagined during his glory days in college. Sloan can’t help but keep comparing his life with those of his four college friends, wondering what it would be like to have their well-paying and glamorous jobs.

When circumstances force Brad to reconnect with his buddies, he soon begins to question whether he has failed or is he in some ways the most successful of them all.

When Sloan accompanies his college-bound son Troy (Abrams) to the east coast, the visit triggers this crisis of confidence. He leads a comfortable life in Sacramento with his loving, easygoing wife, Melanie (Fischer), and a job running a non-profit, organisation an extension of his lifelong idealism.

Not only is it a personal mid-life crisis, but the 47-year-old worries about his perceived lack of achievement and family finances.

As an outsider, looking in, we don’t think there’s any need to worry because everything looks perfectly fine. However, Brad can’t help comparing his life with those of his four best college friends: a Hollywood big shot Nick (White), a hedge fund founder Jason (Wilson), a tech entrepreneur Billy (Jemaine Clement) and a political pundit and bestselling author Craig (Sheen). Perhaps, the grass is always greener over the fence?

Biting satire, White gives Stiller a juicy role that’s incisively funny, thought-provoking and unexpectedly moving.

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