Why can’t most comedies these days have a sweet touch like “The Big Sick,” an Indie hit, or “Brad’s Status,” the new Indie comedy? Both these films are released by Amazon Studios, and both of them don’t rely on assholes to make us laugh. They rely on well-meaning characters, honest humor, and pure emotions.
Written and directed by Mike White (who also acts in this), Ben Stiller stars as Brad, who runs a struggling non-profit organization, and wishes he could live the high life like his old high school friends (Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson, Jemaine Clement, and Mike White). He and his teenage son Troy (Austin Abrams) head over to Boston to look at some colleges. He’s astonished to find out he might want to go to Harvard, because of how talented of a musician he is.
Troy got the interview date wrong, so Brad calls up one of his old friends, Craig Fisher (Sheen), a successful author who gives lectures at Harvard, to hook them up. He does successfully, but that’s not the full story. Brad ponders on whether Troy will lead a good life or the life he wishes he could have.
My one issue with “Brad’s Status” is some of the criticism towards Brad, like “we’re overbooked” or “we can’t upgrade you.” Now, I know that’s bull crap, and I know nobody did anything wrong, but this is one of my Autistic disabilities.
Still, I enjoyed the movie for its portrayal of midlife crises, the question about the future, and the choices we make. Stiller does a sweet, sensitive job playing that kind of father; Abrams gives a nice performance; Sheen is the most effective of Brad’s friends; and even Jenna Fischer (“The Office”) shines as Brad’s easily satisfied wife. Mike White has made another satisfying entry.
You’ll get the jokes, you’ll warm up, and you’ll understand the main character’s feelings.