Ben Stiller was always my go-to-guy when I wanted to laugh myself silly (try “Zoolander”, “Dodgeball” or even “Tropic Thunder”). But in recent years, he has established himself as a drama actor, which has served him well in such films as Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg” and the underrated “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. In “Brad’s Status”, a movie that distances itself from the usual Stiller films, writer-director Mike White walks the fragile line between humor and heartbreak. Ben Stiller is truly exceptional as Brad Sloan, a father taking his 17-year old son to visit colleges. And thus begins a reflection on life and success. His wife, played by Jenna Fischer, thinks their life status is good. But Brad has other ideas. If you want to see a man about to self-destruct in front of you, this is the movie for you. If you’re expecting a Ben Stiller comedy, you’re watching the wrong movie. White tracks Brad without an inch of condescension. That’s why the movie pulls you in. Even when you laugh, like in Brad’s daydreaming scenes, it hurts. This is Ben Stiller like you’ve never seen him before, and I cannot recommend this movie enough.
Categories: 2010 - 2017, 3/4, drama, The Twenty-First Century
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