This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here. Check out my Instagram page for pictures of the premiere.
Synopsis: Brad has a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban Sacramento where he lives with his sweet-natured wife, Melanie, and their musical prodigy son, Troy, but it’s not quite what he imagined during his college glory days. Showing Troy around Boston, where Brad went to university, he can’t help comparing his life with those of his four best college friends: a Hollywood bigshot, a hedge-fund founder, a tech entrepreneur, and a political pundit and bestselling author. As he imagines their wealthy, glamorous lives, he wonders if cozy middle-class domesticity is the best he will ever achieve. But when circumstances force him to reconnect with his former friends, Brad begins to question whether he has really failed or if, in some essential ways, their lives are more flawed than they appear. (VVS Films)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, and Jenna Fischer
Writer: Mike White
Director: Mike White
Rating: n/a (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 101mins
Mid-life crises have been a theme that has been covered in films plenty of times before and this film was no different. In order to enjoy this film, the viewer must relate to the main character. The main character here is a man named Brad (Stiller) who feels inadequate about his own life. All of his friends from College have found some form of success in that they are rich and powerful. Brad believed that he was left behind by them because he wasn’t worthy in their eyes. His insecurities from this then permeated into his everyday life, involving his wife Melanie (Fischer) and his son Troy (Abrams) who was about to go to college himself.
Because of the way the story was told, it relied heavily on Stiller and he definitely delivered. He and the smartly-written script both helped to make Brad a relatable character that you either rooted for or felt bad for. He and Abrams had great chemistry, creating a believable father-son relationship while making them fun to watch together as well.
Overall, this was a great, smartly-written dramedy, anchored by a compelling performance by Stiller.