Ben Stiller gives a terrific performance as a man in the grip of status anxiety in multi-hyphenate Mike White’s wise, finely observed comedy.
47-year-old Brad has a gnawing concern that life has passed him by; a small scale consultant for NGOs, he struggles with resentment over the perceived success of his old college friends (Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement and Luke Wilson). On a trip to Boston with his 17-year-old son Troy (Austin Abrams), who has secured an enrolment interview at Harvard, he vacillates between basking vicariously in the glory of the boy’s potential and seething with bitter jealousy of a success he feels he was denied. Life lessons are learned along the way, but writer/director White, known for his scripts for films such as Chuck & Buck (2000) and School of Rock (2003), keeps proceedings agreeably astringent throughout.
(Notes by David O’Mahony.)
Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.