Every parent dreads the day they have to say goodbye as their kid heads off to college and the new trailer for the upcoming film Brad’s Status shows not only how difficult the process of letting go can be, especially when you don’t want your kids to struggle as much as you. Starring Ben Stiller, it appears to be an honest, funny look at dad standing on the edge of his son’s adulthood. By the looks of it seems to be the rare mid-life crisis movie done right.
Stiller stars as guy named Brad, who’s helping his son Craig decide which college to attend. And helping his son start this new, exciting chapter ends up forcing Brad to take a look at his own life. Brad loves his family dearly and is proud of his son, but is filled with disappointment when he realizes all the things he wanted to accomplish in life but didn’t. This sense of failure is heightened even more when Brad begins to compare his “mediocre” life to those of his college friends (Luke Wilson and Michael Sheen) who appear to have grown up to have perfect and successful lives.
With all of this on his fragile mind, Brad finds himself in the midst of an existential breakdown just as his son is getting ready to have his big interview with Harvard. He, of course, begins to transfer all his hopes, dreams, and fears on to his son. That probably won’t go well.
Brad’s Status looks like it will give a very honest and humorous look at our society’s need to compare status, along with the difficulty of accepting the very simple fact that the universe does not revolve you (or your kid). This is no surprise, given that the film was written and directed by Mike White, the brilliant mind behind School of Rock and the criminally underrated HBO series Enlightened. And also the guy who once went on The Amazing Race with his real life dad. It doesn’t hurt that it also looks like Stiller’s best performance in about a decade, and his first legitimate stab at playing a real life father (no, Little Fockers, doesn’t count) Combine all of this and you have what appears to be a pretty good snapshot of one man’s 21st century parenting experience.