Wonderful quirky film; almost a monologue with interludes
Brad (Ben Stiller) has lately been fretting about his "status" in the world of middle-agers. As he and his son Troy (Austin Abrams), a gifted musician and composer, are about to embark from Sacramento to a Boston tour of colleges, Bradley is in a funk. This is because he has been pondering the so-called more successful lives of his college pals. Jason (Luke Wilson) is a jet-setting, rich hedge-fund manager while Billy (Jemaine Clement) made a tech fortune and retired, at 40, on Maui. Worst of all, Craig (Michael Sheen) is a best-selling pundit on political issues and teaches at Harvard. What has he, Brad, done? For wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer) and himself, its strictly the mundane bourgeousie. Brad manages a non-profit that finds funds for other non-profits while Mel works for the California government. So, while Troy and his dad go to Harvard and Tufts for interviews, Brad upsets the apple cart by embarrassing Troy in front of friends and administrators. This is doubly so when Brad actually needs Craig's help to gain a 2nd interview with a dean! But, in truth, is Brad's status beyond lame? This wonderful, quirky film is almost a monologue as the viewer gets a running commentary by Brad of each and every situation. Yes, there are interludes of actual conversations and happenings and Abrams, Wilson, Clement, Sheen, Fischer and all of the rest do good work. But, its up to Stiller to carry the film with his wry, self- deprecating analysis of life and he does so beautifully. We bow to you, Ben! Scenery, costumes, illuminating script and deft direction all bring the film satisfying results. Most importantly, the movie truly gets it "right" on what makes a life well-lived. Go, go to Brad, film lovers! Hollywood rarely bestows gems like this anymore.
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