A trip to Boston with his college-bound son triggers a crisis of confidence for Brad Sloan as he reassesses his own life choices in a bittersweet comedy from writer and director Mike White. Brad has a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban Sacramento where he lives with his sweet-natured wife, Melanie (Jenna Fischer), and their musical prodigy son, Troy (Austin Abrams), 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 (White), a hedge-fund founder (Luke Wilson), a tech entrepreneur (Jemaine Clement), and a political pundit and bestselling author (Michael Sheen). 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.
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Ben StillerActorBenjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City, New York, to legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His father was of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his mother was of Irish Catholic descent (she converted to Judaism). His parents made no real effort to keep their son away from the Hollywood lifestyle and he grew up among the stars, wondering just why his parents were so popular. At a young age, he and his sister Amy Stiller would perform plays at home, wearing Amy's tights to perform Shakespeare. Ben also picked up an interest in being on the other side of the camera and, at age 10, began shooting films on his Super 8 camera. The plots were always simple: someone would pick on the shy, awkward Stiller ... and then he would always get his revenge. This desire for revenge on the popular, good-looking people may have motivated his teen-angst opus Reality Bites (1994) later in his career. He both directed and performed in the film, which co-starred Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. Before he got to Hollywood, he put in several consistently solid years in the theater. After dropping out of UCLA, he performed in the Tony Award winner, "The House of Blue Leaves". While working on the play, Stiller shot a short spoof of The Color of Money (1986) starring him (in the Tom Cruise role) and his The House of Blue Leaves (1987) costar John Mahoney (in the Paul Newman role). The short film was so funny that Lorne Michaels purchased it and aired it on Saturday Night Live (1975). This led to his spending a year on the show in 1989. Stiller made his big screen debut in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987) in 1987. Demonstrating early on the multifaceted tone his career would take, he soon stepped behind the camera to direct Back to Brooklyn for MTV. The network was impressed and gave Stiller his own show, The Ben Stiller Show (1992). He recruited fellow offbeat comedians Janeane Garofalo and Andy Dick and created a bitingly satirical show. MTV ended up passing on it, but it was picked up by Fox. Unfortunately, the show was a ratings miss. Stiller was soon out of work, although he did have the satisfaction of picking up an Emmy for the show after its cancellation. For a while, Stiller had to settle for guest appearance work. While doing this, he saved up his cash and in the end was able to scrape enough together to make Reality Bites (1994), now a cult classic which is looked upon favorably by the generation it depicted. Ben continued to work steadily for a time, particularly in independent productions where he was more at ease. However, he never quite managed to catch a big break. His first big budget directing job was Jim Carrey's The Cable Guy (1996). Although many critics were impressed, Jim Carrey's fans were not. In 1998, There's Something About Mary (1998) had propelled Stiller into the mainstream spotlight. He also starred in such hit movies as Keeping the Faith (2000) and Meet the Parents (2000).More
Jenna FischerActorEmmy-nominated actress Jenna Fischer, known for playing the character of receptionist Pam Beesley in The Office (2005), was born Regina Marie Fischer on March 7, 1974 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is the daughter of Anne (Miller), a teacher, and James E. Fischer, a plastic engineer. Her ancestry includes German, Swiss, Scots-Irish, English, and Czech. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, she studied theater arts at Truman State University. She made her debut as a professional actress in the 1998 film Born Champion (1998). Fischer wrote and directed the mock-documentary LolliLove (2004), which starred her and her ex-husband, filmmaker James Gunn. The movie had its premier in November 2004 at the St. Louis International Film Festival in November 2004. In 2007, she was nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role of Pam in The Office (2005), losing out to Jaime Pressly in My Name Is Earl (2005).More
Michael SheenActorEven though he had burned up the London stage for nearly a decade--and appeared in several films--Michael Sheen was not really "discovered" by American audiences until his critically-acclaimed turn as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1999 Broadway revival of "Amadeus". Sheen was born in Newport, Wales, the only son of Irene (Thomas) and Meyrick Sheen. The charming, curly-haired actor grew up a middle-class boy in the working-class town of Port Talbot, Wales. Although his parents worked in personnel, they shared with their son a deep appreciation for acting, with Meyrick Sheen enjoying some success later in life as a Jack Nicholson impersonator. As a young man, Michael Sheen turned down the opportunity to pursue a possible professional football career, opting to follow in the footsteps of Daniel Day-Lewis and Patrick Stewart by attending the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School instead of university. In his second year, he won the coveted Laurence Olivier Bursary for consistently outstanding performances. While Sheen was still studying, he landed a pivotal role opposite stage legend Vanessa Redgrave in Martin Sherman's "When She Danced" (1991). He left school early to make his West End debut and has been dazzling audiences and critics with his intense and passionate performances ever since. Among his most memorable roles were "Romeo" in "Romeo and Juliet", the title role in Yukio Ninagawa's 1994 Royal Shakespeare Company's staging of "Peer Gynt" and "Jimmy Porter" both in a 1994 regional staging in a 1999 London revival of "Look Back in Anger". A critic from the London Times panned the multimedia production of "Peer Gynt", but praised Sheen for his ability to express "astonishing vitality despite lifeless direction". Referring to Sheen's performance in "Look Back in Anger", Susannah Clapp of The Observer hailed him for his "luminous quality" and ability to be goaded and fiery and defensive all at the same time. Sheen also managed to set critics' tongues wagging with a deft performance in the role of "Henry V", not a part traditionally given to a slight, boyish-looking actor. One writer raved: "Sheen, volatile and responsive in an excellent performance, showed us the exhilaration of power and conquest". In 1993, Sheen joined the troupe "Cheek By Jowl" and was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for his performance in "Don't Fool with Love". That same year, he excelled as a mentally unstable man who becomes enmeshed in a kidnapping plot in Mystery!: Gallowglass (1993), a three-part BBC serial that aired in the USA on PBS' "Mystery!" in 1995. The actor nabbed his first feature film role in 1994, playing Dr. Jekyll's footman in Mary Reilly (1996) opposite John Malkovich and Julia Roberts, but that film did not make it into theaters until 1996, a year after Sheen's second movie, Othello (1995), was filmed and released. Perhaps his most memorable big screen role at that point, however, was "Robert Ross", Oscar Wilde's erstwhile lover, in the 1997 biopic Wilde (1997). He would also be seen in the Brit road film Heartlands (2002) opposite Mark Addy. Hot off the success of "Amadeus", Sheen began racking up even more notable big screen credits, starring opposite Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson in The Four Feathers (2002) and landing a major role opposite Kate Beckinsale in the action-horror blockbuster Underworld (2003), along with supporting turns in Bright Young Things (2003), Timeline (2003) and as British Prime Minister Tony Blair in director Stephen Frears' film The Queen (2006). Next, Sheen grabbed good notices played a divorce-embattled rock star, stealing scenes from Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore in the romantic comedy Laws of Attraction (2004). Back on the stage, the actor earned raves for his performance as "Caligula" in London, for which he won the Evening Standard Award and Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, along with a nomination for the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.More
Austin AbramsActorAustin Abrams was born on September 2, 1996 in Sarasota, Florida, USA. He is an actor, known for Paper Towns (2015), Gangster Squad (2013) and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019).More
Luke WilsonActorHandsome Texan Luke Cunningham Wilson was born in Dallas in 1971, to Irish-American parents originally from Massachusetts. The son of Laura (Cunningham), a photographer, and Robert Andrew Wilson, an advertising executive, he was raised with two brothers, Owen Wilson (the middle one) and Andrew Wilson (the eldest one). The three would all go on to make their careers in film, with Luke Wilson discovering his love of acting while a student at Occidental College. In 1993, the brothers Wilson collaborated with Wes Anderson to make Bottle Rocket (1993), which was initially a 13-minute short. The gleefully optimistic story of three Texans who aspire to become successful thieves, Bottle Rocket (1993) premiered at the 1993 Sundance Festival, where it attracted the attention of director James L. Brooks. With Brooks' help, the short became a full-length feature film released in 1996 under the same name, Bottle Rocket (1996). Afterwards, Wilson moved to Hollywood, setting up house with his two brothers and Anderson and the same year, Wilson also appeared in the coming-of-age drama Telling Lies in America (1997). After large roles in three 1998 comedies, Best Men (1997), Bongwater (1998), and Home Fries (1998) (the latter two co-starring Drew Barrymore), Wilson went on to star in another three comedies the following year. The first, Dog Park (1998), was a Canadian film directed by The Kids in the Hall (1988) alum Bruce McCulloch and featured Wilson as one of a group of twenty-something's undergoing the trials and tribulations of love. Blue Streak (1999) starred the actor as the sidekick of robber-turned-policeman Martin Lawrence, while Kill the Man (1999) (which premiered at the 1999 Sundance Festival) cast him as the owner of a small copy centre competing with a large chain store across the street. Though he would stick closely to comedy through 2001 with roles in Charlie's Angels (2000) and Legally Blonde (2001), Wilson took a turn for the sinister in the thrillers Bad Seed (2000) and Soul Survivors (2001) before reteaming with his brother Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson to give one of his most memorable performances as Richie in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). In 2003, Wilson reprised two past roles, appearing in both Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and Legally Blonde 2 (2003). That same year, he also scored a hit as one of the stars of Todd Phillips' Old School (2003). The year 2004 saw Wilson embark on The Wendell Baker Story (2005), a film he starred in, co-directed with brother Andrew Wilson. Although he made his film debut in the acclaimed independent film Bottle Rocket (1996), he initially got more recognition for his real-life role as Drew Barrymore's boyfriend than for his acting. Fortunately for Wilson, his onscreen talents outlasted his relationship with Barrymore, and he has enjoyed steady employment and increasing visibility through substantial roles in a number of filmsMore