I don’t think Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here made the splash at this year’s Sundance that he, or the many that crowdfunded the film, would have liked. It received negative reviews from most critics, including myself, who felt that it tread much of the same water as 2004’s Garden State, while failing to live up to his acclaimed directorial debut. In Braff's sophomore effort, he stars as an out-of-work actor who takes on the responsibility of homeschooling his son and daughter when his ailing father can no longer pay their tuition.
This teaser trailer is mostly quick shots of the film’s beautiful cinematography cut to The Shins’ stirring single “Simple Song.” I’ve ranted about how deceptive trailers can be, and having seen the film, I can say this trailer (thanks mostly to the music) makes the movie look better than it was. It felt every minute of its 2 hour runtime, and, as I said in my review, it fell “into a tedious pattern very quickly -- a loop of out of place sci-fi dream sequences, pandering geek references, and characters imparting impossibly eloquent wisdom to each other… throw in a cameo and repeat.” Perhaps Focus Features, who quickly picked up the film at Sundance, made a tighter cut of the film, but I doubt it. That’s just the kind of thing I believe Braff was trying to avoid when he controversially funded the film through Kickstarter.
Though the film as a whole fell flat for me, I will say the cast was very likable. Braff’s Oz The Great and Powerful co-star, Joey King, and Looper's Pierce Gagnon gave standout performances playing Braff’s daughter and son. Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Kate Hudson, and the great Mandy Patinkin also turned in satisfying performances. Maybe that is enough for those who have been eagerly awaiting this film.
The movie is set to be released July 18th.