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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike White|
|Written by||Mike White|
|Music by||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Edited by||Heather Persons|
|Box office||$3.8 million|
Brad's Status is a 2017 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Mike White and starring Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Michael Sheen, Jenna Fischer, and Luke Wilson. It premiered on September 9 at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival in the juried Platform section, and was theatrically released by Amazon Studios on September 15, 2017.
Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) runs his own non-profit organization, and lives a comfortable life with his loving wife and son, but cannot help contemplating how his old friends Craig Fisher (Michael Sheen), Billy Wearslter (Jemaine Clement), Jason Hatfield (Luke Wilson), and Nick Pascale (Mike White) are rich and accomplished. Craig works in the White House and published a best-selling book; Jason owns a hedge fund firm; Billy sold a company he founded, moved to Maui, and retired; and Nick is a Hollywood director. Brad's wife, Melanie (Jenna Fischer), tries to comfort Brad, telling him that they do not need to compare themselves with the wealthiest 1%.
In the morning, Brad and his son, Troy (Austin Abrams), leave for Boston to visit colleges. After Troy confesses to him that he aims to get into Harvard, Brad sees this as a way to make up for his lost ambitions. After arriving at Harvard to meet with admissions, they find out they have missed the appointment by one day. Brad argues to see the admission committee, but Troy gets him to back down. Melanie suggests that Brad should call Craig, which he reluctantly agrees. At a restaurant, Brad calls Billy to get Craig's number and finds out that Nick got married a few years back, but Brad was not invited. He then laments how his friends' exclusion of him confirms his fears: that he is not only a failure in his own eyes but to others as well. Brad also reflects about his waning sex life with Melanie and how his wife easily gets satisfied, which he thinks might have undermined his ambitions. After talking to Crag, Craig gets Troy a meeting with the famous Harvard music professor and the dean of admissions.
Brad and his son meet Ananya (Shazi Raja), a high school musician friend of his son, and her friend Maya (Luisa Lee). Brad relishes Ananya's idealism and her respect for his work, reminding him of his better days. She also reveals to Brad that she did not like Craig's lectures since she finds him sexist and arrogant. After having dinner with them, Brad and Troy turn down the offer of drinks with them and return to their hotel.
That night, Brad can not sleep so he decides to have a drink with Ananya. He tells her that the non-profit life was a mistake and he should have tried to make money. Ananya lets him know that he is living the white man's privilege and that there are kids she knows in India who are lucky to have dinner, so he should be grateful for what he has in his life.
Troy meets his role model music composer thanks to Craig pulling some strings. However, when Troy tells Brad that his idol is not as cool as he thought, they get in an argument where Brad tells Troy that he cannot judge people for selling out because he is just living in a bubble. The argument soon ends and Troy attends his interviews and gets a great response. During the interview, Jason calls Brad and informs him that his daughter has tethered spine. Brad then accompanies Troy to Tufts, his alma mater, where he calls Melanie and expresses his pride about his son.
The next night, Brad has dinner with Craig, to properly thank him for his help. He finds out that his old friends, the ones he believes are leading privileged lives, are actually living with major problems. Jason Hatfield's company is under legal investigation and his daughter has a serious medical issue while Billy Wearslter is an addict and alcoholic. Craig also expresses some homophobic remarks about Nick. While Brad tolerates Craig's constant bragging and backhanded compliments, eventually Brad feels conflicted about how Craig treats him, questioning if they really are friends. He leaves their dinner to join Troy at the orchestral performance where Ananya and Maya are playing. Brad is feeling emotional, imagining how he lost in life. That night, Troy explains that everyone in the world is thinking of themselves, and he is the only one thinking about Brad, and he loves him.
In his thoughts, Brad is trying to imagine the future. The movie ends with him repeating "I am still alive," as he turns over and goes to sleep.
At the end of the credits, Troy's imagination that his son is playing music on the street collecting coins is shown again.
On July 13, 2016, it was announced that Plan B Entertainment was developing a comedy film, Brad's Status, written and directed by Mike White, in which Ben Stiller would star. On October 31, 2016, Amazon Studios came aboard to co-finance and distribute the film. Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson, Jenna Fischer, and Austin Abrams joined Stiller in the cast.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 82% based on 159 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Brad's Status transcends its familiar premise with insightful observations and affecting interplay between stars Ben Stiller and Austin Abrams." On Metacritic, another review aggregator, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||November 27, 2017||Best Screenplay||Mike White||Nominated|||