Release Date: September 15, 2017
MPAA Rating: R (for language)
In “Brad’s Status,” Ben Stiller portrays the title character, Brad Sloan, with the story centered around Brad accompanying his son, Troy (Austin Abrams) on a journey that takes them from their Sacramento home to the Boston area where they explore colleges to which Troy has applied. An interesting scene that helps convey the Bay Area setting of the family is one in which Brad is wearing a San Jose Sharks tee-shirt.
While all of the performances are solid, including those by Jenna Fischer, Luke Wilson, and Michael Sheen in supporting roles, I found myself a bit confused by the screenplay, written by the film’s director, Mike White. Some may see this as yet another existential film role for Stiller, yet I wonder whether the director was too close to his own material to be able to fully engage in creative objectivity.
Fans of Stiller will likely be pleased with “Brad’s Status,” although do not expect a lot of laughs in what has been described as a “bittersweet comedy.” This is anything but the “feel good movie of the year.” Some filmgoers will enjoy the journey, while others will leave the theatres scratching their heads.