Ben Stiller

Film Review: Brad’s Status

by Carrie Kahn on September 22, 2017

A midlife crisis worth watching: Stiller shines in funny and poignant story  

Brad (Ben Stiller, l.) reflects on his life while touring colleges with his son Troy (Austin Abrams). 

Ben Stiller, who can play middle-age angst like no one else (see While We’re Young, for example), is in fine form in writer/director Mike White’s new film Brad’s Status. Although the film’s premise about a soon-to-be-50 straight white man facing an existential crisis as he grapples with his life choices may sound like the epitome of naval-gazing white privilege, the picture touches on some universal themes with sensitivity and wry humor, thanks in large part to Stiller’s well-tuned performance and White’s sharp screenplay (White is perhaps best known for the 2000 cult hit Chuck and Buck and this year’s social satire Beatriz at Dinner).
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Film Review: Zoolander 2

by Gordon Elgart on February 12, 2016

Yet another piece of evidence that comedy sequels don’t work.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson tell it like it is in Zoolander 2.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson telling it like it is in Zoolander 2.

Zoolander 2 (also seen in some advertising as 2oolander or Zoolander No. 2) starts with an exciting chase scene. Some mysterious figures on motorcycles are chasing a man in a hooded sweatshirt. They catch up to him in an alleyway, and riddle him with bullets. As he takes bullet after bullet in a shot that continues for 10-15 seconds, the audience goes from laughter to applause. Why? Because it’s Justin Bieber. That’s the comedic currency of this entire movie: celebrity cameos as punch lines.

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It’s Gen X versus the hipsters in Baumbach’s uneven new film

Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Josh (Ben Stiller) have a late night discussion.

Writer/director Noah Baumbach, who is 45, and whose girlfriend and frequent muse Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) is 31, obviously knows a thing or two about Gen X/millennial conflict, and it’s hard not to wonder how much his real life experiences shaped While We’re Young, his new picture exploring the generational divide. While intellectually clever and undeniably funny at times, Baumbach’s film is not without its problems.

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Here’s a secret: Stiller’s adaptation not bad

Ben Stiller's Walter works up the nerve to have a conversation with Kristen Wiig's Cheryl in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Ben Stiller’s Walter works up the nerve to have a conversation with Kristen Wiig’s Cheryl in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Ben Stiller, directing his first feature since 2008’s very funny Tropic Thunder, hasn’t made a great film with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but it’s a very pleasant diversion with a few genuine laughs, a sweet storyline, and some spectacular cinematography. Stiller’s film is the first to try to adapt James Thurber’s classic 1939 New Yorker short story of the same name since the 1947 Danny Kaye version. Here, though, working from a script by Steve Conrad (who also wrote the generally well-received The Pursuit of Happyness), Stiller doesn’t try to faithfully adapt the story so much as use elements of it to create an updated, brand new version. [read the whole post]

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