Mike White — creator of HBO’s cancelled, and critically mourned darling Enlightened, writer of The Good Girl, School of Rock, and, very just back in June, Beatriz at Dinner, has made yet another film. With Beatriz‘s arrival a month ago, and a writing credit on, of all things, The Emoji Movie (out later this week), this next project marks his third movie within four months’ time. White has also directed the upcoming picture in question — an addition to the Ben Stiller-experiencing-midlife-crisis canon, titled Brad’s Status. (Essentially competing for a place in a canon pretty much made up solely of Noah Baumbach movies.)
The film follows Stiller as an anxious bourgeois white suburban dad (gasp!) whose friends have, per his neurotic musings, all achieved greater levels of success than him. (These ultra-content friends include characters played by Jemaine Clement, Luke Wilson, and Martin Sheen.) When he takes his son on a college tour of Boston, the pressures put on the next generation intersect with the pressures he puts on himself — and his understanding of his age and place in the world is called into question. “Brad’s status” is, in fact, seemingly about Brad finding meaning beyond status.
“You’re 50 years old and you still think that the world was made for you,” says a much younger woman in a bar, seemingly summing up his awakening. If you watched Enlightened, you certainly know White’s penchant for social satire with a heart, and at least from the trailer, this appears to be a pretty empathic portrait of a familiar character.
The trailer overall is somewhat enticing, particularly for its talented cast (which also includes The Office‘s Jenna Fischer), even if it isn’t helped by its inclusion of the almost always far-too-literal-in-film “Under Pressure.”