TIFF: Brad’s Status

Save yourself $12 and some heart burn. Brad’s Status is midlife crisis. Anyone who calls a Millennial whiny, entitled, or self-indulgent has cleary never met Brad (Ben Stiller) or his ilk. He seemingly has everything a Millennial may never get: a great house, a job he’s passionate about, a family who adores him. And yet.

And yet his son’s success has led him to do some deep introspection. His son Troy  (Austin Abrams) is applying to college and his good grades and musicianship mean he’s a shoo-in wherever he might apply – including Harvard, which is the school they’re going to check maxresdefaultout over the weekend. Brad is surprised his son is so high-achieving, proud of course – but maybe also a little jealous. And he’s reminded of his own youth, when life was still before him and anything was possible. His best mates in college have all gone on to stunning success – Craig (Michael Sheen) is a best-selling politico, Billy (Jemaine Clement) is enjoying early retirement in paradise after selling his company, Jason (Luke Wilson) is a hedge fund guy with his own private jet, and Nick (Mike White) is a Hollywood director with a palatial home. Brad gets unforgivably mopey about the fact that his sweet wife (Jenna Fisher) didn’t encourage him to sell out, and his job helping people connect with charitable giving is peanuts compared to just being a rich guy with money to give.

We get treated to so much of Brad’s whiny inner monologue that you’ll want to punch him, repeatedly. Various Millennials have to literally hold his hand and explain to him that he’s being gross: that everything he’s complaining about is white privilege, male privilege garbage. And he still doesn’t get it.

Brad’s life only seems pale when he compares it to the 1%. He burns with first world problems. He seems like a not fantastic guy who doesn’t get an ounce of my sympathy. Of course, Ben Stiller is well-suited to this kind of neurotic self-pity. With anxiety written all over his face, we know 5 minutes into this movie that we hate him and regret having to spend the next 100 minutes listening to him be ungrateful for his charmed life. Thank goodness for his son who sees things a little more clearly. Mike White may have some interesting things to say on the subject, and I pray that he’s just as contemptuous of Brad as we are, but for me, he was just too unlikeable a character to really inspire much empathy from me, and I mostly just wanted to turn him off.

12 thoughts on “TIFF: Brad’s Status

  1. Christopher

    This just seems like a wasted opportunity to make a valuable comment about white male privilege and how it insulates those who experience it, and the irony is that Brad can’t pop that bubble even though he’s an enormous prick.


  2. Jeff the Chef

    I saw the trailer for this movie recently, and had a queasy feeling that I couldn’t describe. But thank you for your review, because now that you mention “whiny, entitled, or self-indulgent,” that was exactly what it was. It looked awful.


  3. Katrina Morrison

    Hi Jay 😊
    Too bad this Brad was so annoying. It sounds like the film missed its mark in the point they may have been trying to make: Looking at the 1% as the goal or bar for success is exactly why too many feel detached, depressed, and uninspired.
    This definitely doesn’t sound like a feel good movie like the “It’s A Wonderful Life.😞


  4. Tom Kelly

    I thought it was a really good movie. I guess you have to be a parent to understand and get the heartfelt interpretation. Ben Stiller
    Very nice job. Hope you get nominated for an Academy award!


  5. CineMuseFilms

    Now, now Jay; this film is really not bad if you are anywhere near being an age contemporary of Brad. I get that younger folk will yawn themselves stupid throughout this one, thats if they stay to the end. Others will feel his pain, and yes, its a middle class non-problem. I liked it…there, I’ve said it.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s