Middle Ages

Still Status-Seeking

This is more the realm of my other Tumblr that no one looks at, Gray Matters, but every month I’m always hoping something new and exciting that I wasn’t previously aware of might start streaming. “Brad’s Status” on Amazon Prime fit that criteria mostly because I’ve loved the director and writer Mike White since “Chuck and Buck” (if this profile doesn’t sell you on him, I’m sorry) and I kind of like Ben Stiller’s more recent miserable Greenburg-ian/While We’re Young roles.

The synopsis was “Brad Sloan has a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban California, but it’s not quite what he imagined during his glory days in college. Sloan keeps comparing his life with those of his four college friends, wondering what it would be like to have their well-paying and glamorous jobs.” So, yeah, this was going to be more of that.

It was all right, maybe a B-. What took me out of the story immediately was casting Jenna Fischer as his wife. At first glance it seems fine, two Sacramento middle-agers in a sexless marriage with ok careers and with a son who’s going off to college. (Sacramento is really having a year for high school seniors on-screen.) No one ever questions the graying husband with the blonde wife. 

I thought she was barely 40, but it turns out she’s 43. Ben Stiller is 52, though he was playing 47 in the movie. It was kind of satisfying to hear a college-aged woman he seemed a little too fond of ripping on him, “You’re 50 years old and you still think the world was made for you.” A nine-year age difference is not radical, but it’s not nothing. The audience is supposed to view the couple as being at the same stage in life. I’d argue that 43 is a different stage from 52. 

Jenna Fischer, the actress, has children who are three and six. It’s not super believable that her college-educated character with parents who own a $2 million home and presumably live back East would have a child at 25.

And…I’ve just spent way far too much of my Saturday morning thinking about this.

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