BRAD’S STATUS — Review by Susan Granger

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Writer/director Mike White tackles a particularly privileged mid-life crisis as a neurotic father takes his talented 17 year-old son on a New England college tour.
Although he lives in a beautiful suburban home in Sacramento, California, with his loving, supportive wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer), angst-riddled Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) never stops whining and complaining. Continue reading…

An idealist, he’s opted to work in the non-profit sector, which means he’s earned considerably less money than his Tufts University classmates.
There’s former White House press secretary-turned-author Craig (Michael Sheen), wealthy hedge-fund manager Jason (Luke Wilson), retired-in-Maui tech guru Billy (Jermaine Clement) and Hollywood director Nick (Mike White) whose $9 million mansion is on the cover of Architectural Digest.

“For them, the world isn’t a battlefield, it’s a playground,” Brad muses.

Now Brad’s off to visit East Coast colleges with his son Troy (Austin Abrams), a musical prodigy who has a good chance of being accepted at Harvard. Or, at least he would have, if he’d not messed up the date for his Admissions interview.

Determined to rectify the scheduling snafu, Brad tries calling his influential college classmates from whom he has felt estranged.

While he’s utterly convincing, Ben Stiller has played similar malcontent roles before – in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “While We’re Young” and, more recently, “The Meyerowitz Stories.” But his totally self-absorbed Brad Sloan seems somewhat smarmy, given today’s ‘real world’ problems.

Eventually, Brad gets his comeuppance from Troy’s flautist friend Ananya (Shazi Raja) but not before this middle-aged creep imagines running off with bikini-clad Ananya and another nubile undergrad.

Filmmaker Mike White indulges in seemingly endless fantasies and inner monologues, overly narrated by Ben Stiller. But it’s difficult to evoke sympathy for this resentful materialist. The more we know about him, the less we like him.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Brad’s Status” is a sardonic 6, stuffed with deceptive sentimentality and self-pity

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.