by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Hey, so Ben Stiller is back. Ignore that casual pop opening. (Smiley face.) It’s just in keeping with Stiller’s upcoming starrer from Amazon Studios, BRAD’S STATUS.
You can Google up what this remade actor has been up to personally, because it shows in his work. Those are real tears, and this is a heartfelt movie, despite the toss-away title. BRAD’S STATUS is directed by Mike White, the guy who brought us SCHOOL OF ROCK and NACHO LIBRE, both featuring the best of Jack Black. White seems to find the inner something in comedic actors. (White also stars in this film, and is actually the writer of the Salma Hayek project BEATRIZ AT DINNER.) Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures is reported as the distributor.
Anything with the mercury-drop actor of humor and darkness Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”) has got to be good; plus there the formidable chops of Michael Sheen. Luke Wilson, Jenna Fischer and Austin Abrams also take part in making BRAD’S STATUS something to look forward to as a back-to-school-anxiety movie set for a Sept. 15 release date. The tagline is interesting too: “Are you powerful, wealthy, retired or BRAD?”
Here’s a first glimpse of Ben Stiller 2.0…
How Amazon Describes BRAD’S STATUS, Thumb-drumming
When Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) accompanies his college bound son to the East Coast, the visit triggers a crisis of confidence in Brad’s Status, writer and director Mike White’s bittersweet comedy. Brad has a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban Sacramento where he lives with his sweet-natured wife, Melanie (Jenna Fischer), and their musical prodigy son, Troy (Austin Abrams), but it’s not quite what he imagined during his college glory days.
Showing Troy around Boston, where Brad went to university, he can’t help comparing his life with those of his four best college friends: a Hollywood bigshot (White), a hedge fund founder (Luke Wilson), a tech entrepreneur (Jemaine Clement), and a political pundit and bestselling author (Michael Sheen). As he imagines their wealthy, glamorous lives, he wonders if this is all he will ever amount to. But when circumstances force him to reconnect with his former friends, Brad begins to question whether he has really failed or is, in some ways at least, the most successful of them all.