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

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.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Shudder Universal Monsters
Just in Time for Halloween, the Universal Monsters Land on Shudder

You may not have noticed this, but we’re inching closer and...

Black Panther Trailer
The Revolution Will Be Televised in the Latest ‘Black Panther’ Trailer

With Thor: Ragnarok ready to blow audiences away in just a...

The Wall
Win a Poster Signed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, and Doug Liman for ‘The Wall’

The first of two movies released this year from director Doug...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
8.0/10
Review – Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (PS4)

When was the last time PBS was this exciting? Senran Kagura:...

Save the Light
Cartoon Network Reveals Global Launch of Steven Universe RPG ‘Save the LIght’

Cartoon Network finally announces the global launch of the Steven Universe RPG Save...

Yu-Gi-Oh! Code of the Duelist Special Edition
Kind of Like a Cheat Code – Yu-Gi-Oh! Code of the Duelist Special Edition Review

It’s kind of like using a cheat code without cheating –...

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
hello kitty coloring
VIZ Media Releases New Hello Kitty and Friends Coloring Book

VIZ Media expands its catalog with one of the world’s largest...

8.0/10
Red Robin Returns in Detective Comics No. 965…or Does He!?!

Title: Detective Comics #965 Writer: James Tynion IV Penciler: Eddy Barrows...

viz
VIZ Media Announces New Digital Manga Content For August Update

TLDR New Viz Media digital manga updates for August that include...

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
GodMode
The Brain Booster Specifically for Gamers – GodMode

For those struggling to get a positive K/Dratio, Boss Level Labs...

Circuit Break
In Yu-Gi-Oh! Dragons Soar and Wires Get Crossed Due to a Circuit Break

Legendary Dragons soar and wires get crossed thanks to Circuit Break...

Legendary Dragon Decks
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Legendary Dragon Decks Releasing 10/6/2017

Everyone favorite mythological creatures are hitting the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG hard with the...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
AXS TV Closes NJPW’s ‘G1 Climax 27’ With Four Episodes From The Final Weekend Beginning Friday Oct. 13

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 11, 2017) – “Rainmakers” and “High Fly...

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero has created an auction to raise money for UNIDOS por Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

I’m The costume was worn by Rocky during the final Roppongi...

Douglas Lima Defends his Bellator Welterweight Title Against Rory MacDonald at the Forum on 1/20

LOS ANGELES – One year removed from its previous event at...

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...?
Comics on the Can – Double Dragon

Comics on the can Double Dragon Writer – Dwayne McDuffie Pencils...

CULTURAL JUNK DRAWER SDCC 2017 86.3% TRUE RECAP!

A totally true recap of the most important geek cultural even...

Comics on the Can: Schick Hydrobot and the Transformers

Written by John Barber, Pencils by Steve Kurth, Inks by Juan...

Event News Event Reviews
Yu-Gi-Oh! at New York Comic Con
Konami Showcases Yu-Gi-Oh! at New York Comic Con

It’s time to duel! Konami Digital Entertainment showcases Yu-Gi-Oh! at New...

Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Is Coming to Europe and North America 2018

LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2017) – The critically acclaimed Game of Thrones® Live...

The Third Annual ‘BeerX’ from 91X in San Diego Featured Sunburns and Beer Goggles

This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual BeerX, presented by...

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

A look back at the year in gaming.

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
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,...

Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...