Mike White’s ‘Brad’s Status’ is a Thoughtful Examination of White Male Privilege

Costume SuperCentre Canada

Brad's Status

There’s no shortage of movies that follow around a white guy in the throes of a mid-life crisis. A vast majority of these movies give the audience no reason to care for this type of character other than the fact that he’s the lead, hoping that there will be enough people who identify with the ennui of the central character. Writer-director Mike White doesn’t do that with his latest film, Brad’s Status. Through the thoughts of its main character, White examines the nature of white male privilege as the main character is incapable of seeing just how nice his life truly is.

Brad (Ben Stiller) is living an upper middle class existence in Sacramenton, California with his wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer) and their teenage son Troy (Austin Abrams). In his nice, two-story home Brad has trouble sleeping when his mind wanders to the greater successes of his college friends and how their financial success compares to his own. On a trip to Boston with his son to check out potential colleges, Brad loses himself often in his thoughts and his mind always goes back to those lives of his college friends and how imagine their success has left them without want. Brad’s inability to leave his own head and actually look around him to observe just how well he lives leaves him extremely isolated and incapable making a connection with those around him, including his talented son.

One thing that’s key to making Brad’s Status work is the fact that Mike White never asks the audience to actually side with its main character. If anything, you just want to slap Brad when his thoughts runaway and scream in his face: “You’re life is perfectly fine, you idiot!” To think that Mike White and Brad’s Status is somehow endorsing the viewpoint of its main character is a willful misreading of the film and its story, and ignores the fact that the character is confronted on his bullshit by a young woman (Shazi Raja) who calls him out on his bullshit.

More importantly, Brad’s malaise is defined by the fact that he’s operating under assumptions of his friends based on incomplete information, anecdotes that fuel his jealous imagination. He assumes that Billy (Jemaine Clement) is living a life of unadulterated leisure in a beachside paradise based on a single phone conversation; he assumes that professional success for Nick (Mike White) means he’s free from sorrow because he saw him in Architectural Digest; he assumes that Jason (Luke Wilson) doesn’t have a care in the world because of his wealth, and that his kids are likely spoiled for that reason as well based on Instagram posts; and he’s assumed that he’s always been in a form of competition with Craig (Michael Sheen), and resents the success of the author and political operative who constantly appears on television. There’s just one snag, though: their lives aren’t what he imagines them to be. Each success brings forth new complications and the thoughts that take Brad out of the moment prevent him from seeing anything of value in his own life. Brad believes that his old friends don’t invite him to social events due to his lacking success when it’s in fact his inability to form connections because of his inability to escape his thoughts of jealousy that are deeply rooted in entitlement and privilege.

Brad’s Status is a smart, thoughtful examination of privilege that doesn’t endorse the viewpoint of Stiller’s disaffected character. It’s a sharp blend of comedy and drama, though the comedy is often very subtle and amplified by the phenomenal performance of Ben Stiller, who slyly underplays every aspect of Brad. Much like he did with his HBO series Enlightened, Mike White takes us deep into the psyche of a wounded individual who can’t see the effects of their actions on those around him. At each and every turn, Brad takes actions that only heighten his grievances with a world he feels has passed him by except it hasn’t. Only in America could a man live an upper middle class existence and still feel like he’s been shut out, that he’s a victim of an unjust system.

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Red Sparrow
Better Dead than ‘Red Sparrow’

There’s usually an element of sexiness with spy stories. They hide...

Ryan Coogler and the Cast of ‘Black Panther’ Discuss Bringing Wakanda to the Screen

After years of anticipation, Wakanda is finally making its way to...

Ready Player One Come with me
New ‘Ready Player One’ Trailer Hints at a World of Pure Imagination

We’re living in an odd age where nostalgia has taken over...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
This Bulb Takes Awhile to Light Up – Yu-Gi-Oh! Wave of Light Review

Celestial fairies and counter traps take a while to yield results...

6.0/10
The Dynasty Alters Its Course – Dynasty Warriors 9 Review [PC]

The long-time franchise changes the formula and ventures into a big...

gaming pcs
Prebuilt Gaming PCs: A Better Option in 2018?

A fellow member of the gaming master race, Founder of Easy...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
8.5/10
Ninja-K #4: Much Ado About Ninjas

NINJA-K #4 Written By: Christos Gage Color By: Andrew Dalhouse Art By: Juan...

BLACK [AF]
‘BLACK [AF]’ is Imperfect yet Full of Potential

Comics Twitter convinced me to bet on BLACK, the series about...

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ‘The Prisoner’ with Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, and Titan Comics

The Prisoner has been hailed as television’s first masterpiece; a surreal...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
WWE Slam Crate Starts the Year Off Right

In just two weeks time WWE’s Royal Rumble not only continues...

January’s Loot Crate is Here!

January is a month where resolutions are made, hopes are extended...

Yu-Gi-Oh Kaiba
Yu-Gi-Oh March 2018 Will Be Great For Your Yu-Gi-Oh Kaiba Cards

Yu-Gi-Oh March 2018 will be great for your collection of Yu-Gi-Oh...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Epic Fighting 37 Full Results

Epic Fighting 37 took place tonight from the Four Points Sheraton...

Bellator 193 Full Results

January 26, 2017 – Tonight Bellator returned to Pechanga in Temecula,...

Bellator 192 Full Results including the Welterweight Championship and Heavyweight Grand Prix

January 20, 2018 – Tonight, airing for the first time on...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Magic Hat Brewing Teams-Up with Dropkick Murphys for an Ale as Smooth as Their Sound

Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing Company teams up with Boston’s Dropkick Murphys...

Cultural Junkdrawer ASSult on AVN pt 2: The Future!

Pt 2 of my AVN 2018 Recap! With Lloyd Kaufman, Pancakes...

Adult Continuity Presents: ASSult on AVN Pt 1: Sex Dolls and Concrete!

A firsthand account of the 2018 AVN show and ANE.

Event News Event Reviews
dough bar
The Dough Bar and the Protein Donut

Created by Marquez and Ondrea Fernandez, The Dough Bar Doughnuts are...

truedark
Improve Sleep and Performance with TrueDark

TrueDark by Biohacked aims to improve your sleep, performance, and health by...

Pyramid Escape Room Review
Escape Room LA’s The Pyramid Escape Room Review

Overview of The Pyramid Escape Room The Pyramid Escape Room, Escape Room...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...

%d bloggers like this: