Staff Pick: Brad’s Status
Brad (Ben Stiller) is the head of a non-profit operation that he founded. His son (Troy) is about to graduate from high school and wants to go to Harvard. He’s a musical prodigy. Troy’s parents are not as well-off as some of Brad’s college friends, and Brad begins to worry about how he will get the money for tuition. Nonetheless, they head out to Boston for some college interviews.
Troy finds out his interview was scheduled for the previous day and misses his appointment. The interviewers want him to go home and be interviewed by an alumnus. Brad tries to change their minds, but they won’t budge. He then calls one of his college friends to pull some strings to get Troy another chance. The friend gets the committee to reschedule the following day. Brad and Troy meet some upperclassmen (girls), and when Brad expresses his dissatisfaction with his status, one girl tells Brad he is doing something worthwhile and should be happy in his work.
When his son Troy talks to some of the professors at Harvard, he realizes one professor seems to be very impressed with himself and is not interested in teaching. So they drive over to Tufts University – Brad’s alma mater – and Troy seems to like it better.
As Brad begins to reconnect with some of his old schoolmates, he realizes that they may not all be as happy as they appear to be. His friends have met several times without inviting him. Brad feels like he is being overlooked because he is not as successful as the others.
Brad may be experiencing a mid-life crisis as he looks back on his life and evaluates his success. He may not feel as fulfilled as he should, but it causes him to question what it means to be successful.
Stiller does a good job of communicating (verbally and physically) his roller coaster ride of emotions. He relates very well to his son and they grow closer as the trip unfolds. Troy comes to the realization that his father is a great problem solver, and is trying to help him achieve his goal.
The plot is solid and realistic. It’s very entertaining and thought-provoking. You’ll find yourself asking what’s really important in life.
I recommend the DVD “Brad’s Status” (2014) very highly.
– Carl White (Local History Librarian)