Hot Take: Could have easily called it “White Privilege Problems.” It’s hard to care about a self-involved dick who can’t seem to grasp reality. Why is Ben Stiller so good at playing a self-involved asshole?
I’ve felt like the main character in Brad’s Status before. It lasts for about 10 minutes and then I tell myself to snap out of it. Snapping out of it is never the case in Brad’s Status, however. Instead, it’s basically a film starring Ben Stiller as an unaware jerk who can’t seem to grasp that an upper middle class life is good enough when a few people he went to school had more success. The level of self-pity Brad has makes it nearly impossible for you to really care about his “plight” which ends up becoming monotonous as Brad drones on to anyone who will listen about his problems, including us, the audience, thanks to a dry, listless narration from Stiller in the main role.
If listening to a middle aged white man with an attractive wife, a kid smart enough to be looking at Harvard as a college choice and a somewhat success non-profit business is your idea of entertaining, Brad’s Status should be right up your alley. Is the movie more than this? I guess so. If you really try hard to extrapolate the meaning of the film but, essentially, that’s all it is. Stiller as Brad is essentially a whiny snooze and, honestly, give Stiller credit for nailing the role because I’m pretty sure he’s supposed to be a whiny snooze. At the end of the day, he can’t enjoy much of anything. There are fleeting glimpses of happiness only to be erased by some ridiculous conclusion about how life isn’t quite going HIS way.
Maybe it’s today’s socioeconomic climate or the number of other actually important issues that have become hot and relevant but the last thing I needed to do is sit in a theater and watch some privileged aloof male fail to realize how good he has it and instead lament about how his shitty college friends have somehow become more success than him. This isn’t a knock on Stiller who knocks the role out of the park. However, it is a knock on Brad’s Status for it’s absolute failure to add anything compelling or interesting to the conversation of white privilege or the “plight” of the middle class.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Ben Stiller Does Asshole Well
Is there a rule that you never go full asshole? Well, if so, Stiller broke that rule here. Actually, to be fair, he’s not the typical jerky asshole but more of a disconnected and unaware asshole from the real problems of the world.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Where’s the Epiphanies?
We never see the real ending of Brad’s Status which is likely him dying in a car accident while getting road head from an intern he just hired at his non-profit soon after getting a divorce and buying a convertible. It’s really the only fitting end for this dolt.