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REVIEW: ‘BRAD’S STATUS’ Is an Ode to Self-Assessment!

 

 
Overview
 

Directed by: Mike White
 
Produced by: David Bernad, Mike White and Carla Hacken
 
Written By: Mike White
 
Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Jermaine Clement and Michael Sheen
 
MTRCB Rating: R-13
 
Genre: ,
 
FG RATING
8.0
8/ 10


User Rating
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Raves


Ben Stiller's performance, engaging story about midlife crisis

Rants


Clunky editing and screenplay.


A comedy such as Brad’s Status spells evaluation: looking back on your years, your accomplishments, setbacks and whatnot; a character study within the character: examining the memories, its little details, the “what if’s” that explore the idea of midlife crisis where at some point we question our worth. Brad’s status follows Brad, who owns a […]

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Posted October 19, 2017 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

A comedy such as Brad’s Status spells evaluation: looking back on your years, your accomplishments, setbacks and whatnot; a character study within the character: examining the memories, its little details, the “what if’s” that explore the idea of midlife crisis where at some point we question our worth.

Brad’s status follows Brad, who owns a small time NGO networking firm in Sacramento. When he takes his son. Troy to Boston for a potential admission to Harvard, his mind drifted back to his glory days college and began to reminisce the years of ups, downs then eventually thought of his successful friends: a best-selling author who works in the White House, a bigtime Hollywood screenwriter, hedge fund owner and a tech entrepreneur.

The narrative meticulously details Brad’s self-assessment: his bitter, cynic, narrated monologues expressing his frustration, every single sentence uttering disdain for himself to other and as resentment to his friends as every footage depicting their successful lives and experiencing life to its fullest cut to his ordinary, middle-class suburban life in Sacramento.

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Then comes Brad’s daydream where a series of montage such as his son’s successful future as musician, buying an island and being interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel which the latter is one of the fun part go down with the film’s satirical part and at the same time a perfect depiction of desperation, the way each image shows comes off as over-the-top works because it lingers on the impossibility and the character’s desperation.

Midlife crisis theme was well played throughout narrative-wise and laid the ground work on Brad’s story, his status: its genuine in a way that Brad isn’t sympathetic, he’s real about his feelings, being left out seeing photos of his friends have a great time in Facebook, Craig’s books and TV appearances and such; the camera perfectly lensed Brad’s solitude, emptiness and uncertainty.

While these narrative elements lay out solid storytelling, the problematic screenplay and editing hinders to make a cohesive story instead during the second and third acts of the movie constantly overuses Brad’s angst monologue instead of setting up a resolution to his conflict or midlife crisis, it’s unfortunate that the screenplay chose to go overboard with those moments rather than to explain or give depth on the consequences of being idealistic, the difference what made Brad’s friends successful.

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Despite of the problematic screenplay and underwhelming climax of Brad’s confrontation with one of his friends, the last 5-10 minutes were surprisingly the film’s most powerful moment: where Troy talks to his father, it’s very sincere, upfront, that dialogue where two actors didn’t act but they made it real that it felt a conversation where each line delivered spontaneously.

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Lastly, what made the film really worth watching is Ben Stiller’s amazing performance: it’s refreshing to see him take on such a dramatic role without begging the audience attention; his nuanced angst, deadpan cynic along layers and layers of unhinged emotions to a lovable everyman allows Stiller to shine and excels. It would be great to see him take on non-comedic roles, he’s more than capable.

Brad’s Status is now showing in Cinemas. Special thanks to Solar Pictures for the invite!


Mico Orda

 
A passionate, enthusiastic writer, Mico Orda utilizes his filmmaking skills to keep his writer’s edge. He enjoys a lot of outdoor activities, which juice up his creative juices.


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