Wish I Was Here

Film, Drama
2 out of 5 stars
Wish I Was Here

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

No matter where Zach Braff gets his money from – Kickstarter (as in this case), Hollywood or the piggy bank – he still only knows how to make one kind of movie: cutesy, faux ironic, desperately emo and aggressively indie. In the case of 2004’s ‘Garden State’, early to the trend, he got away with it. But his shtick now seems fossilised, especially in the context of so many superior filmmakers (from Judd Apatow to Richard Linklater) mining the setup of anxious parenting for real insights. ‘Wish I Was Here’ has a too-familiar LA family in crisis: the glibly failing actor dad (Zach Braff), the long-suffering wife with her own dreams on hold (Kate Hudson), the precocious kids who’d benefit from a little personal attention.

Plotwise, the movie is a shameless pileup of clichés. A cancer-stricken father (Mandy Patinkin) requires some bonding before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Braff’s daughter is going through a wacky hair phase, and a joyride in an Aston Martin (with salesman in terrified tow) is part of the psychic healing. Even worse than the film’s pre-programmed structure are Braff’s formulaic instincts as a storyteller, drenching moments in slo-mo and Bon Iver for instant bathos. Some will find the director’s toothless brand of epiphany comforting (and download his mixtape). But the vast majority will find it tired.

By: Joshua Rothkopf



Release details

Release date:
Friday September 19 2014
106 mins

Cast and crew

Zach Braff
Zach Braff, Adam J Braff
Josh Gad
Kate Hudson
Jim Parsons
Zach Braff
Mandy Patinkin
You may also like