Ben Stiller plays Brad, a middle-aged business man who runs a non-profit that he founded himself. His story as told here revolves around taking summer college tours with his teenage son, Troy. (Played by Austin Abrams.) During this trip, which would normally lead to a lot of father-son bonding time, Brad instead spirals down the emotional rabbit hole and falls into a full-on mid-life crisis in which he can’t stop ruminating about the successes of four of his “high acheiving” college buddies. The act of revisiting his past brings into sharp focus the inadeqacies of his life and his accomplishments.
2017, Color, Rated R, 1 Hrs 42 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Luke Wilson, and Michael Sheen
Directed by: Mike White
This role falls right into Ben Stiller’s wheelhouse and casting him in the lead role was a brilliant move that set the movie off on the right path from the get go. In many ways, this movie was a real side-splitter for me and the family because Brad’s plight is a mirror into my own mid-life feelings of inadequacy and even outright failure. I bet most middle age guys would feel this way and so this movie will likely strike a chord with a whole lot of people.
This movie is further bolstered by great writing, amazing acting, and is spot on for the modern middle aged man of worry. I also loved the ending but will not spoil it other than to say, Brad does finally realize that he has lived a charmed life (so far).
This work was digitally shot and displays all the hallmarks of this mature, modern technology – very detailed with colors that are true to life. Furthermore, shadow detail is excellent with no visible compression artifacts. This was all around excellent picture quality. This movie has what I would call a “pedestrian” audio track which is very different than an action movie but has demands of its own. The sound relies on excellent ambience retrieval and environmental sounds.
When Brad falls into his sad self-pity mode, the circuitous background music sounds incredible. Lastly, the all-important dialog is clean, clear, and intelligible.
This package contains a single disc with the Blu-ray movie and special features along with a digital code. The on-disc extras are entertaining albeit modest in scope: A Look at Ben Stiller as Brad, A Culture of Comparing Ourselves, Mike White on Directing His Own Script, and The Story of “Brad’s Status”.