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
Cartels
Steven Seagal Sleepwalks Through ‘Cartels’

Amazingly, there are some people still willing to pay Steven Seagal...

Leatherface 2017
‘Leatherface’ Delivers a Bloody Underwhelming Origin for a Horror Icon

For some reason there are those who think that everything has...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Entertains Despite Pulling its Punches

Watching Kingsman: The Secret Service felt like you were witness to...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Nights of Azure 2
Koei Tecmo America Details Demon-Slaying Action For Nights Of Azure 2: Bride Of The New Moon

Survive the environments of Nights Of Azure 2: Bride of the...

SteelSeries North
SteelSeries Announces Partnership with FC Copenhagen, Nordisk Film and Their Top-Ranked Counter-Strike Team, North

Three of the Most Successful Danish Brands Team up to Accomplish...

Warriors All-Stars Review
7.0/10
It’s a KOEI TECMO Party – Warriors All-Stars Review [PS4]

Why are games that bring together characters from numerous other titles...

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
viz
VIZ Media Announces New Digital Manga Content For August Update

VIZ Media details digital manga updates for August highlighted by the...

viz
VIZ Media Announces New Manga and Literary Acquisitions At Anime Expo

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of...

9.0/10
Supergirl Makes Contact in ‘Supergirl Being Super’

Title: Supergirl Being Super #4 Writer: Mariko Tamaki Artist: Joelle Jones...

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
atari
New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis Systems from AtGames Now Available

Classic Gaming Lives Again with Release of New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis...

urban armor gear
New Urban Armor Gear Exo-Skeleton Case for Android Tablets

UAG creates an ingenious adjustable protective case for the toughest Android...

New Urban Armor Gear UAG Plasma Series LG V30 Case

Lightweight and slim, the UAG Plasma Series LG V30 Case provides...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Mayweather and McGregor Previous Fights Now On Demand on Cable, Plus Interviews, Workouts and More

From iN DEMAND – New York, Aug. 17 – Before the...

Rumble on the Water 2 Delivers Punching Power

July 29, 2017 – Long Beach, CA – The Queen Mary...

UFC Star Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Releases Emoji App – BonesMoji

From BonesMoji – Los Angeles, CA., July 27, 2017 – One...

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...?
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...

Star Wars Themed Lands Will be the Perfect Safe House for the Rebellion and the First Order

Disney’s D23 Expo has revealed a lot of what is to...

Event News Event Reviews
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...

anime film festival
LA-Anime Film Festival Kicks Off to Celebrate 100 Years of Anime Films

Los Angeles Anime Film Festival (LA-AFF), presented by international creative company...

stan lee
Extraordinary: Stan Lee at The Saban Theatre

Comedian, Nerdist CEO, and podcast extraordinaire Chris Hardwick will lead a roster of...

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

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

Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

Sabroso Fest, How can you go Wrong with Beer, Tacos and Lucha Libre!?!(Photo Gallery)

The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival sponsored by 95.5...