Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children's TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James's life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story ... See full summary »
A Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who wants to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams.
Haley Lu Richardson,
a whimsical interior monologue about mid-life inadequacy
If your cup is always full don't waste your time with this film. For
the rest of us, it is a guilt-inducing reminder that our cup may be
fuller than we think. Although it is light on big laughs and it does
not have a big narrative, Brad's Status (2017) delivers a film-length
interior monologue that probes our obsession with aspirational
Brad Stone (Ben Shiller) is not ageing well. When he starts comparing
his half century of life with a few of his classmates he feels like a
failure. Despite owning a small non-profit agency that helps people,
having an attractive and loving wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer), and a
remarkably well- adjusted teenage son Troy (Austin Abrams), Brad has a
gnawing sense of inadequacy. He sees his old high school friends living
fantasy lives, like retiring to a tropical island, wallowing in
celebrity, and flying around in private jets. Troy's visit to the east
coast to pick a college is a chance for father-son bonding but all it
does is remind Brad that he is a loser. He cannot score an airline seat
upgrade to impress his son, he can't seem to even win the respect of
hotel check-in staff; in fact, nobody really notices Brad. But through
Troy's mature young eyes, Brad is a great dad.
This is not a film for everyone. The action and tension curves are
close to flat, while Brad's introspective narration is a mid-life
crisis tale that sounds like middle-class aspiration syndrome. It's
possible to see Brad as an avatar for the ills of modern society. The
dialogue is self-indulgently immersed in the politics of envy and the
quest to self-legitimise through material possessions and public
success. He is a victim of conservative individualism where
self-interest has a higher moral value than public interest. His
self-doubt will resonate for many and Ben Shiller is cast perfectly for
the role. He plays Brad with a kind of Woody Allen-style angst-tinged
whimsy which may tire some while amuse many. His son is his emotional
foil, and young Austin Abrams plays the part with deadpan wisdom beyond
his years and amusement that his weird father should struggle so much
over so little.
The message of this film lies buried under its comic treatment of a
bland story. The blessings in Brad's life are obvious to us but not to
him, as are the several reasons to doubt the people he admires. Brad's
Status is a warm-hearted tonic for anyone afflicted with anxiety over
what life has not provided. When taken in the right dose, it is both
uplifting and entertaining.
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