Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wish I Was Here

Zach Braff waited ten years to make his second writing and directorial effort after Garden State. His use of Kickstarter for funding Wish I Was Here was very publicized. The movie is certainly independent and in keeping with the tone of Garden State, it has a solid soundtrack featuring the Shins. Josh Gad of Frozen Olaf fame is his younger brother and Kate Hudson portrays his wife. Mandy Patinkin gives a powerful performance as the ailing patriarch. Jim Parsons has a small and fantastic role as one of Braff's character's peers. With this film and the Normal Heart, Parsons has really been proving that he has the strong acting chops to play more than just the Big Bang's Sheldon Cooper. Braff inner circle members Donald Faison and Michael Weston make short appearances in the film as well. On a side note, Weston's name always confused me because the name is also the main character in Burn Notice and the actor was also a traumatizing character in Six Feet Under. Pierce Gagnon is an amazing young actor with a lot of screen time as Braff's precocious son.
Joey King is making quite the career for herself. Co-starring as Braff's daughter in Wish I Was Here, she was also Colin Hanks' daughter on the FX Fargo series this summer. In 2010 she played Romona, one of the beloved characters in the movie adaptation of the Beverly Cleary books. The film also has the pop culture humdinger of Carrie Bradshaw and Mr Big exes, Aiden and Natasha, portraying Romona's parents. John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan as a couple has always seemed like a crazy pop culture crash and it taking place in Portland always made it seem like a secret joke written for me. It was also a nice adaptation of the beloved Beverly Cleary books. King was also in Crazy Stupid Love as one of Steve Carell's children and in White House Down as Channing Tatum's little girl. King has certainly had some amazing movie dads.

Back to Wish I Was Here, while an emotionally engaging film with many comedic moments, part of it fell flat for me. There were a couple of scenes that just felt heavy handed and as if they were trying too hard to resonate in a certain way. I also never really bought Hudson as Braff's wife. Overall I enjoyed the movie but it was not quite what I hoped for. To date the film has made 3.5 million dollars and has a 76% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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