Imagine waking up one day to discover that the life you thought you wanted is a far cry from the life you think you deserved. That’s what happens to Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) in this mid-life crisis meets coming of age story. In the Amazon Studios’ film Brad’s Status, we follow Brad and his only child, Troy (Austin Abrams), as they embark on a college road trip visiting schools like Harvard and Tufts. Along the journey this father and son uncover the truly important things in life, and how choices can impact everything we do (and think). It is not only about our interactions with the world, but also ourselves.
Director, screenwriter, and co-star Mike White (The Good Girl, School of Rock, Orange County) examines themes of regret, jealously, anger, depression, ego and false facades. Yet, at the heart of this drama, I found a story of inspiration, hope, self-discovery and realizing that our own happiness should not be wrapped up in competition or comparison.
It can be a challenging film to watch, as the audience experiences many of the same emotions as the characters. We find ourselves asking: “how would I have handled that situation differently?” Those very personal answers are the ones that will engage our hearts and our minds.
If you’re looking for a Ben Stiller classic comedy, Brad’s Status is not for you. This a film that you may find sad and depressing at times, and frustrating, embarrassing and anger-inducing at others. But it feels real to the core, and that is what worked for me, especially the more I digested it. Brad’s Status offers a style with some voice-over narration, and episodes of day dream-like escapes from reality. This approach captures the thoughts of Brad as he considers his past, his present, and his future … and all the choices he did and didn’t make along the way.
This is a film that speaks volumes about perceptions related to success, and the things that SHOULD matter in life. I’m still thinking about those very questions nearly twelve hours later.
Brad’s Status earns a “B” on my report card.
– Script by Noel T. Manning II