Wish I Was Here (2014) Poster

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10/10
Something Beautiful
Kuuzzz13 July 2014
I was a backer of this movie on Kickstarter that got a online viewing. Zach Braff has created a beautiful movie, something realistic that many can relate to. I have no idea why people would give this such a low rating, even if it's not your cup of tea you can not deny the movie of what it deserves, it is a great film.

I laughed and I cried. Wish I Was Here touched me on such a emotional level mainly because I had to watch my Father die of cancer like so many people in this world have had to. And I could relate to the character Noah (Josh Gad) that played Zachs brother in the film.

The performances were great, especially by Mandy Patinkin who just BLEW me away. His acting class. The depth of each of the characters in this movie was amazing, and this is the reason why so many people should be able to relate to at least one of the characters.

I'm not much of a writer, nor am I a reviewer, in fact this is my first ever on IMDb, but I felt compelled to write about it to help give this movie the respect it deserves. So glad I invested in this movie and helped make it happen. If you are looking for something that will tug at your heart but also make you laugh, then go and see it if you get a chance, you won't regret it. Will be watching it again as soon as I can.
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9/10
Another Winning Film From Zach Braff
mjnicoski-59-51776421 July 2014
In my opinion, the critics have it all wrong with this film.

"Wish I Was Here" from director and writer Zach Braff ("Garden State") is another terrific film that deals with real life issues that most can relate to. Not only does Braff's direction capture Southern California and human emotion quite well, his screenplay is witty, smart and deep.

To top it off, Zach Braff's performance as a 35-year-old father, husband and struggling actor is terrific. He works well with his supporting cast including Kate Hudson, in her best performance in a long time, Mandy Patinkin, Joey King and Josh Gad.

If you are looking for a film about self discovery topped with comedy and deep human emotions, then give "Wish I Was Here" a try and ignore the critics. This may be one of my favorite films of the year.
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4/10
All about pretending to be something it's not
Semisonic15 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I understand that it's hard to get any acclaim trying to swim against the IMDb currents, and anyone who says this movie sucks is instantly named a moron and an utterly incompetent person who knows nothing about the cinema. Also, people have hard time understanding what moves other people to express their discontent about a movie and not just shut the f**k up. The point is, if those who found the movie to be well below par don't say anything then the people who come here for some insight on what the movie might be would only see one side of the story. So here i am, trying to actually elaborate the reasons of the 4/10 rating.

Anyway, this movie starts and ends with some not-so-deep message, like "When we were little, we pretended that we were the heroes, ones who save the day. But what if we raised the bar a bit too high? What if we are the regular people, ones who get saved?". Don't know what sort of epiphany the screenwriters smoked to use this as a portion of wisdom fundamental for the movie and around which the rest revolves, but they were spot-on about one thing. This movie is all about pretending.

I don't even know where to begin, so shallow this movie is. The characters, their dreams or problems - absolutely nothing i could feel for. "Oh, my dad's not gonna pay for my kids' private school, and i'm so broke because i sit on my ass and jerk off on some porn on my MacBook while pretending that i would become a super hot actor"? Is that supposed to be something people relate to? Or maybe "Omg, my cubicle coworker makes penis jokes, i have to tell everyone"? Seriously, these guys live in a goddamn California, and the main guy's so called loser brother lives in a trailer with a view a billion people would kill or even die for. The guy's dad fails to send a check for a damn private school because he got a f**king cancer - and the guy's biggest problem is that he would have to care for his dad's dog? Really? Is it me, or 5 year old kids in some less well-fed countries than US are more adult than these guys? All that people do in this movie is pretend their lives are so important and full or such dire problems, and we are expected to drown in tears watching them moan about it or clench their tiny fists in attempts to actually do something that counts?

Just because we are being shown a bunch of losers comforting each other and a soppy music is playing doesn't mean that the movie's good. The only thing that was remotely good in it is the main guy's dad character. At least he had something really valuable to lose, and he accepted it with dignity and not pitying himself.

It would be different if the movie was actually having a fun at itself and showing the characters as a bizarre freak show they are. Instead, we are having some self-indulgent life lessons from those who obviously know sh*t about life. Apparently, that's exactly how the director/writer/main actor Zach Braff wants to position himself. Just like his character, who by some weird twist of fate landed a teacher's job at some acting school, while having a dandruff commercial as an apex of his own acting career. Keep it going, pal, i'm sure we have a lot to learn from you.
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4/10
Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here is a strange, confused, and more than occasionally profound and moving film about family, life, relationships and death.
MichaelM25920 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here is a strange, confused, and more than occasionally profound and moving film about family, life, relationships and death. The film tells the story of Aidan (Braff), a 35-year old struggling actor who is forced to pull his kids out of private elementary school when his disapproving father, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), informs him that his cancer has returned and the tuition money needs to be put towards treatment. Unable to afford the prohibitively expensive Jewish school the devout Gabe had since bankrolled and unwilling to risk their development in a lackluster Los Angeles public school district, Aidan begins homeschooling his children while his wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson), continues to "support his dream" by toiling away at a mundane data entry job. What follows is a series of episodes in which Aidan imparts life lessons onto his son and daughter (Pierce Gagnon and Joey King) as he examines his own path, all the while coping with the impending loss of his father.

As in the case of his previous film, Braff's latest foray succeeds in exposing something decidedly truthful about a particular phase of adulthood, albeit in a peculiar, meandering fashion. While 2004's Garden State explored the unexpected struggles and complexities of journeying home, Wish I Was Here is a warning that things aren't any simpler once you're there. Stuck between what he wants for himself and what his family needs from him, Braff's Aidan represents a generation that was raised to do what makes them happy, but is now being told that that's not good enough. Whether it's from his father, his wife or the rabbis at the school, Aidan is frequently reminded there are other people depending on him, and that striking out at audition after audition is far from a sure fire way to instill confidence, let alone put food on the table. Naturally, then, one of the key conflicts the film flirts with is the question of when, if ever, should dreams be allowed to die? The resolution here is somewhat unsure of itself, but maybe that was Braff's intention: what is it to be in your thirties if not transitional and restless, constantly oscillating between living your life for yourself and suddenly having to fragment it for the sake of the goals and well- being of others, namely your spouse and children. This is a valid argument, to be sure, but unfortunately this is also part of the reason why much of the film's comedy doesn't totally land, as the audience is forced to feel severely concerned for the future of Aidan's kids given his stubborn dedication to his career and inability to provide a semblance of security; at times it even feels like he's less a father and more a cool babysitter going on adventures with someone else's progeny.

Similarly, the arc of Aidan's marriage seems to lose velocity and direction over the course of the film. Save for one early scene where Sarah expresses disappointment over having children so young and another involving some washer/dryer-assisted coitus, her role in the story as far as Aidan is concerned is to serve as an obligation for which he is supposed to be responsible. Their union and her character in general, for whatever reason, lack substance and take a back seat to Aidan's educational jaunts with their kids.

For all its shortcomings in developing Aidan's relationship with his wife and children, the film undeniably delivers on the storyline with his father. Patinkin plays his character phenomenally despite spending most of the movie in a hospital bed. Hudson, too, delivers a surprisingly genuine performance and in one particular scene—probably the best of the entire movie— trades tear-soaked lines with Patinkin to the point where it's impossible to tell who's stealing the scene from who. It's a shame the story failed to give her more to do, choosing instead to split screen time with Aidan's forlorn, Comic-Con-going brother (Josh Gad) and a string of bizarre, heroic fantasy sequences plucked from the recesses of Aidan's childlike mind (coincidently—or perhaps not—the Braff-produced documentary on the development and distribution of video games also hit theaters this weekend). The narrative purpose of these departures isn't completely lost on the viewer, it's just unclear why they need to trump the more compelling, real-world drama.

Nevertheless, the emotion of Wish I Was Here imperceptibly builds as we watch Gabe gradually and peacefully come to terms with his mortality and seek reconciliation with his sons. Without divulging too much, his final scene in the film is a powerful, timeless admonition to experience the beauty and tragedy of life each and every day we're graced with the opportunity to participate in it. At a time when it's impossible to ignore the disturbing and inexplicable loss of life all over the world, Braff's charge to the audience seems eerily appropriate: for us to be the lead actors in our lives and not just spectators in the crowd, because whether or not we've prepared ourselves, it could all be over before we even knew it began.
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A surprisingly deep and poignant movie with a lot of heart.
ollie1939-97-95799418 October 2014
Don't listen to the critics. Zach Braff's new movie is actually very good with a lot of heart and emotion to it. In some ways, it surpasses Braff's other movie Garden State. You can tell this is a movie that he wanted to make for a long time. Whilst Garden state was a more autobiographical movie, this is more of Braff making you go on an experience . It somewhat reminds me of Lost in translation. There's not really a plot of kinds but is like going on some sort of experience. It's really about the relationship between the character of Aidan Bloom (Braff) and his family and not much else. Also, like Lost in Translation it has many comic moments due to the comedic talent of its two main stars. Throw in some entertaining cameos from Braff's Scrubs co star Donald Faison and Jim Parsons and you have a well rounded movie. If there's one "indie" film you have to see this year, go see Wish I was here. By the end of it, you'll be glad you were there.
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8/10
A Coming of Late Age Story
stefanovich-d30 May 2014
Viewed at Kickstarter pre-screening in Toronto:

Although sometimes dragged down by the sheer weight of it all, Zach Braff's "Wish I Was Here" is a massively heartwarming, enjoyable, and refreshing tale of love and loss which is sure to tug at your heart at one point or another.

Even though it's been criticized for being "indie" or "hipster," the film features less of those "genres" clichés as Braff's previous film, "Garden State," or even some other films such as "(500) Days of Summer" and "Away We Go" - it feels much more "mainstream." It relies a bit more heavily on comedy than it does drama which makes it an easier film to just throw in and enjoy, but when the tense parts do come, they'll be sure to move you.

Including all of Braff's usual suspects such as Jim Parsons, Michael Weston, and Donald Faison, the film boasts incredible performances by both youngster Joey King and veteran Mandy Patinkin.
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5/10
Wish I Was Here Review
alexrwatson-888-1690262 August 2014
Admittedly, this is the first Zach Braff film I have seen. I only saw one trailer for the film, and it immediately intrigued me. I did not hate this film, but I also did not love and found myself in a lukewarm middle ground. For everything I liked, there was something I did not like.

First off, the story. The story as a whole deals with living life and dealing with death which was pulled off fairly well. However, there were several things in the script that I feel like took away from the film and the story Braff was telling. One of the those things were the laughs or lack thereof.

The script thinks its wittier and funnier than it actually is with most jokes missing that hitting. The movie also thinks it's deeper than it actually is. Maybe that's just Braff's style, but to me it seemed like it was more style over substance.

I did really enjoy the soundtrack for the film and Braff gave a good performance as a 30-something-year-old treading the water in his life.

I will definitely give Braff's future movies another shot and will see Garden State soon, but Wish I was Here was just not as good as I hoped it would be.
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4/10
Artificial Sweetener
erosthanatosfilms14 July 2014
This film, anticipated as a "sequel" to Garden State(it's not at all, stop calling it that) only shares some similar elements to it's predecessor yet doesn't really maintain any of the charm.

On a technical level, it's really well put together and amazing for being a Kickstarter project.

The biggest issue with this film is that they simply did not put enough effort into actually writing something that was coherent nor providing any artistic merit.

It's all style and virtually no substance which causes it to eventually lag throughout, what seemed to be, the second act. This style easily worked with Garden State given that it was a film about feeling aimless in life, however it doesn't work the second time around. There seems to be a lot of story lines that don't really go anywhere or provide anything to the main plot and the fantasy sequences serve NO purpose whatsoever. It's a lot like an artificial sweetener in that it tastes good at the beginning but ends up leaving a weird taste in your mouth.
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10/10
Great Movie with an Amazing Cast
jordan-276-94426727 May 2014
I for for one really enjoyed this movie. I saw it at a screening in Toronto. If you were a fan of Garden State you will love this movie.

The cast was superb! Especially Joey King (Grace) and Mandy Patinkin (Gabe). They literally stole the movie. There was not a single bad actor in the movie. Small cameos by James Avery and Donald Faison added great comic relief. After the movie we had a Q&A with Zach Braff and he informed us that this was James Avery's last role on film and left us all with hilarious little improv line. It was very funny.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone who is a Zach Braff fan and wants to go out for a movie that is an emotional roller coaster with great visuals, solid acting and of course the great comedy of Zach Braff.

The movie had great comedy and very real story line.

A+++++
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9/10
You will wish you were there!
sadik-khan03121 January 2015
What is that Zach Braff can't do? Nothing. He can write, direct and act perfectly. Wish I was here is a perfect story that proves this. The movie starts with the childhood dream of two brothers which was to be great and how it is realised by them in the end. The actual problems of family, dreams , expectations are all beautifully depicted. It has its moments, great moments. Not meeting the hopes of a father, a not so ambitious brother, religious children, the wife who works to support the family and the guy who still pursues his dream to be an actor.

Satisfaction, creativity, hope and living your dreams are the words which you will get familiar with in the end.

The music is alive and amazing. The movie has a voice and it is the most important part of telling a story.
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1/10
Really amateurish movie
daemeh12 July 2014
I'm one of the naive supporters of this Kickstarter project. I don't know why I felt there was hope that this movie could be any good. Zach wasn't kidding that this was a personal movie. I wish I could make a movie about me struggling with everyday problems, me enjoying myself with the kids, with total disregard for the paying audience. Could be that it's really about your life Zach, we sympathize with that. But other than trying to be original by not caring about creating a good story, the movie was completely 'meh' - I just watched the kickstarter promo video again and that was way more interesting. I feel cheated - it was a movie for you more than a movie for the rest of us. Hope you enjoyed it!
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1/10
Wish I . . Chose Another Movie
lbenot1 August 2014
A depressing dirge featuring our slacker/looser protagonist who, married with 2 children and supported by his wife, is selfishly pursuing his own "happiness"; his attractive blond wife who offers no objection what-so-ever to his self-absorbed slackerness; his slacker/looser brother who, financially provided for by his deceased mother, has chosen to hole-up in a trailer park and surf the internet; and their father, who now dying of cancer can only hope that his grandchildren (another generation of slackers/loosers in training?) will become the successful, non-dysfunctional progeny he had hoped for.

Cluelessly our protagonist goes begging for school tuition charity from his rabi, who thankfully spoke the correct and much needed, but totally unheeded, perspective on our protagonists selfish and irresponsible "pursuit of happiness:" PROVIDE FOR YOUR FAMILY.

Well-done movies take you away from everyday life, they entertain and uplift. By that definition, this requiem was, much like the pathetic characters and story line of this movie, a complete and total failure.
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10/10
Beautiful heartfelt family film that will make you laugh and cry, from start to end
meltinzone12 July 2014
For me, a 26yo dude, it takes a really great story based around real feelings and truth to get me truly emotionally involved. Wish I Was Here did that from the get go.

At first it's the casual laughs and uh-huh moments that have you laughing, only then to curve ball and hit you with raw emotion. As the emotion builds, one finds themselves helplessly drawn toward the characters and the deeper the film gets the more magnetized everything becomes. So the wriff-braff (see what I did :p ) of jokes to emotions to jokes to emotions works extremely well throughout the duration of the film.

I tend to have a keenly acquired sick and twisted sense of humor, so maybe some of the negative reviews are from people without that extra special comic DNA, I dunno....

Ultimately Wish I Was Here moved me to literal tears. While it had me pretty early on getting somewhat watery eyed, many times thereafter it's like the reservoir of water just builds, before at some point they just burst that wall, ever so gently, releasing a flood of tears that have been filled with joy, laughter and sadness. I'd likely say there are some very real emotions shared in this film, by all. Perhaps having been through some pretty heavy parts of life, I just 'get it' where as those without certain experiences or unable to relate, will 'just not.'

If you've enjoyed movies like In The Land of Women, It's Complicated or a vast selection of real drama films with believable story lines and real emotion, I'd definitely recommend giving Wish I Was Here your time. If it doesn't make you laugh or get watery eyed at least once each, well sometime in the future after you've experience some of life's turmoils, I hope you revisit and see the treasure you missed the first time round.
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1/10
A dismal attempt at humor that lacked any substance and barely raised a chuckle from a full cinema.
davidgln15 September 2014
The 'Wish I Was Here' storyline did have potential to be an interesting situational comedy but that's as far as it went. This film never made it to first base. The supposedly funny and overly contrived 'moments' were consistently met with total silence from our nearly full cinema. There were a few laughs here and there but these only touched the spot for a handful in the crowd. I'm sure most were 'Wishing I Was NOT Here' and weighing up when would be an appropriate place to make an early exit and get on with their lives! The film was hamstrung with poor overacting and a script that more or less demanded just that. Ironic because the lead character is an out-of-work actor struggling to impress in auditions. If you enjoy totally contrived and unrealistic scenarios, characters venting extreme, unwarranted reactions to loved ones around them, laced with crudity and heavily peppered with obscene language that's also out of place, then this is the movie for you! You'll also be treated to very skewed depictions of Jewish schooling, home schooling, and parent-child relationships.

I won't tell you how the movie develops from there and I can't tell you how it ends but I'm confident the main reason I was there was to pen this review to encourage you to do yourself a favor and give this film the FLICK!
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6/10
Might be worth seeing
msmolly27 July 2014
At the Guild 45th in Wallingford, I went to a matinée of Zach Braff's just released film Wish I Was Here. The making of this film was somewhat controversial because Braff used Kickstarter to raise funds for the film he co-wrote with his brother Adam Braff, so that he could make it exactly how he wanted to. While I enjoyed the film and found it to be touching and moving at times and very funny at other times, there was nothing about it that was brilliant. The cast includes Braff as Aidan Bloom, Kate Hudson as his supportive wife Sarah, Mandy Patinkin as his father, Josh Gad as his brother Noah, and Joey King and Pierce Gagnon as his daughter and son. I thought King was quite good in her role as an almost teen-aged girl.

I certainly don't regret seeing this film, but there really isn't much to recommend it either. But if you happen to be somewhere where it is playing and are just a bit curious, go ahead and see it. I don't think you will regret it.
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4/10
Comedy and drama don't mix in this uneasy tale
eddie_baggins15 February 2015
Wish I Was Here really wants you to like it, like really badly. With a cult fan base of loyal followers at his behest, director, co-writer and star Zach Braff has leveraged off his work in Scrubs and his success with indie darling Garden State to source crowdfunding to the tune of millions for this wannabe hipster dramedy that just so dearly wants you to appreciate it's quirks and life lessons, yet in doing so forgets that what we really wanted was a solid narrative for these eccentricities to come out of.

I truly can't recall from recent memory seeing a film that just so desperately wants to succeed and by this I mean that Wish I Was Here is a film that is striving, nothing comes naturally here. Braff and his brother Adam's script is so often filled with tripe laden dialogue that the experienced cast of actors including Kate Hudson and Mandy Patinkin just can't convincingly deliver. Films in the vein of Wish I Was Here succeed when these scripted moments feel real, when things seem to flow on in a natural progression and the tales characters feel real also, Wish I Was Here struggles in all these aspects. It's hard to nail down just where things fall apart at the seams here but most of the films downsides must surely stem from Braff himself.

As a writer, director and actor Braff has proved himself to be a likable if limited ranged screen presence but here with his man child Aiden things really don't work out to well. Aiden is a guy quite content with acting like a child as his wife goes about the business of being an adult and worrying about the kids and it's not to say that man child's aren't often endearing but Braff just isn't on key enough here to make Aiden work. The other elements working against the film is the consistent throwing in of incredibly ill-advised CGI scenes of Aiden as a spaceman, random moments of supposed joyous occasions like test driving Aston Martin's that seem solely devised so Braff could drive a sweet car or other completely un-needed scenes like Aiden's brother Noah's (played by Josh Gad) journey to Comic-Con. Braff needed to keep things simple, not keep things hip.

There is a lot of fan service going on here in Wish I Was Here and Braff is clearly trying to cater to a whole range of different audiences that makes his film feel like a melting pot of a billion different ideas and oh-so funny life musings yet it never becomes anything greater than a watchable distraction with some nice easy listening backing tracks. Wish I Was Here wants to be funny, it wants to be sad and it wants to teach you lessons about all the important things it life but what it sadly doesn't do is become anything memorable. I think if I were a backer of this project, I'd be wanting my money back.

2 swear jars out of 5 For more movie reviews and opinions check out -

www.jordanandeddie.wordpress.com
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8/10
Heartfelt, Garden State-like, phenomenal score
mroberts-ca27 May 2014
I had the pleasure of seeing the final release of this film in the Kickstarter Toronto screening - This version we were told was slightly different than that shown at Sundance - a few scenes taken out, music arrangements.

This film is one that I would highly recommend seeing in the theater in order to fully experience just how magical the score is with this Film. The female leads are acted well, and Mandy Patinkin was fantastic. Over all the acting isn't anything spectacular, the story and messages are great - but it is the music (Some original songs) that really make this movie feel whole.

The filming is a more "mature" Garden State with more artsy yet mature angles for each Scene. Zach Braff was not the strongest actor in this film, but his direction and his vision is what really shines through.

If you liked the "indy" style of Garden State - you will fall in love with this movie.

If you want something that will both make you laugh, and cry...this is a great movie to give a try. Keep in mind, this is not a studio film..but is somewhere between studio and Indy...with a perfect mix of vision and execution.

Go see it, enjoy it...it won't be for everyone, but those that like it will really be moved by it.
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3/10
What a brain washing!
ohbila19 October 2014
Wow... This movie has no plot a all. It's all frame shot ideas and brain washing. From god to death, to religion or education this movie is shooting at you fake behavioral thoughts and ideas all the way!

Be good, work hard, stick to your job, cancer is incurable, be nice to god, homeschooling sucks, artistic jobs aren't real jobs and don't pay enough, death is fun... so many that you probably have to watch the movie to be sure (but don't show it to your children or to highly susceptible people.

This said, acting isn't terrific, but not to bad and the movie is still watchable.
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8/10
Great and beautiful movie, but a bit too much swearing and sexual references.
Jlpnewland1 November 2014
"Wish I Was Here" was a brilliantly constructed film, and had a great selection in actors playing different roles. It was a funny, dramatic film, which was just hilarious on so many levels. The main cons for me in this film was the fact that it had just a bit too much swearing (coarse language) and that it was a bit too sexual, especially near the end. Nevertheless, it was a very funny movie. The reason I rated it 8/10 is because of the sexual references and the coarse language, that is pretty much all. Zach Braff (my opinion) was and is a great actor, especially in Scrubs. He and the crew did a great job making this film come alive and out into the world. To sum up: Great selection in actors, the film is very comedic and very dramatic, I love it.
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4/10
Lukewarm
rapidcereb12 October 2014
I liked the style of "Wish I was Here" and it seemed promising at the start, but it was far too derivative with no impacting storyline aside from a few ponderings throughout.

It felt as though twenty percent of the movie was actually scenes just thrown in as a requirement by the funders (outside kick starter). This being said, these random scenes did give one something to ponder about, concerning things that had to do with real life and nothing to do with the movie.

I liked the style and colouring, but Garden State was better, and I like Zack Braff's goal and vision for his movies. But with this one I think he had to deal with too many things being added to his movie, probably against his liking, in order to secure funding for it. Which in the end left us with a lukewarm, relatively non eventful, fairly boring movie.

Kudos to Zack and crew though, for making a well shot movie based predominately off of crowd funding sources, but guess the crowd funding did not add quite enough, and he had to let a bit of the muddy waters into the movie.
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8/10
A wakeup call to grow up and accept responsibility
StevePulaski23 December 2014
If it isn't remembered for anything else, Wish I Was Here may go down as one of the most controversial crowdfunded films ever made for reasons that didn't even involve the film's ambitions or content. When Braff announced in 2013 his sophomore directorial effort would be funded by generous donations and contributions from fans and supporters of his work on the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter, backlash ensued, questioning Braff's business asking for contributions when he, himself, had presumably made a great deal of money from his last film Garden State ad his recurring role on TV's Scrubs. Despite considerable flak, Braff managed to reach his goal of $2 million in just three days, ending up with over $3 million from almost 47,000 people and the result is the offbeat but likable Wish I Was Here.

The film stars Braff, who also co-wrote the film with his brother Adam, as Aidan Bloom, a thirty-five-year old father desperately trying to work as an actor in Los Angeles, while struggling to support his wife Sarah (Kate Hudson) and their two children, Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) and Grace (Joey King). Tucker and Grace are blessed to go to a private, Orthodox Jewish school thanks to assistance from Aidan's father Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), which lightens the financial burden Aidan and Sarah are already having a hard time bearing. Tragedy strikes when Gabe reveals to Aidan that his cancer has reoccurred, he regretfully cuts the education fund for the children so the money can be spent on much needed radiation treatment. After realizing that no aid will be provided from the Orthodox Jewish school (make whatever joke you want, Braff sure does), Sarah proposes the idea of having Aidan, who is already more-or-less a stay at home father, homeschool the children, which leads to an early midlife crisis on part of Aidan, who wants to remain worthwhile and, most importantly, worth something.

If there has been a recurring theme in the films of 2014, between Birdman, Top Five, and now Wish I Was Here, it's the desire to rise above critics and feel like you matter in a big way. Wish I Was Here concerns ideas of self-worth and personal pride in realistic ways, given the fact that Aidan's lack of consistent income and casual disapproval from his father hurts in more ways than he allows be shown. Also affected by diminishing feelings of value is Aidan's brother Noah (Josh Gad), who lives alone and relishes in the childlike whimsy of attending comic conventions and cosplaying rather than owning up to actual, adult responsibilities, again, much to the dismay of his father.

Wish I Was Here is also an interesting film about early millennials finally adhering to the responsibilities they long put off when they are forced to make challenging, life-altering decisions that were either ignored or made by one of their superiors. While Braff isn't, by definition, a millennial, his filmmaking sensibilities reflect that of a generation driven by change, experimentation, and the lack of uniformed convention, and Wish I Was Here follows a couple who seemed to be taken by that kind of youthful idealism only to settle into having a family and accepting the same responsibilities their parents had to. Even if the characters aren't handling situations in the fabled "right way" (case and point, when Aidan confronts one of Sarah's coworkers who has been prolific in sexually-harassing her), we can at least see and accept the fact these characters are trying.

I wasn't a big fan of Garden State, Braff's first directorial effort; I found everything a little too artificial, the humor a little too inconsistent, and the characters a bit too cutesy. With Wish I Was Here, it's as if Braff himself, grew up too, in an emotional and assured manner. The film remains fiercely likable, never too unbelievable, and consistently funny, as Braff's impeccable deadpan, verbal banter allows for a new layer of fun to be carried out, and when one views the film as an imploring wakeup call to grow up and accept responsibility, Wish I Was Here becomes one of the most important comedies of 2014.

Starring: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Pierce Gagnon, Joey King, Josh Gad, and Mandy Patinkin. Directed by: Zach Braff.
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3/10
Are you CRAZY
MennoMan16 October 2014
OK.. quite a few nice reviewers... REALLY MUST BE SOME Political Correct Liberals.... ALERT,,, Stating a Movie is full of BAD Jewish Jokes is NOT INSINSITIVE...It is just the truth. If aimed at the Jewish Market... I think this movie falls way short. If aimed at middle Americal... it is WAY OFF... in fact. I simply do not know who this movie is aimed at.

Poor plot, Poor Jokes and completely boring. The only thing that is Good is the Reviews?????? I really need to say something about a poorly made, none funny Jewish based movie getting good reviews... but I don't want to appear as if I think that people really rate movies on who made them or who is in them... But, if the shoe fits.
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7/10
Nicely done
kosmasp8 April 2015
While this is a Zach Braff movie, it's Josh Gad who has a lot of scene-stealer scenes. Not sure if you could (or should) compare him to early Jack Black, but if you do that analogy/comparison on the degree of how funny they are, I guess you can. Although Gad seems a bit more low key of course (and not only in this, but other movies he did).

Zach is doing his usual thing, which isn't bad, but might feel a bit like the same to viewers. And still the movie is able to get you towards the end, if you have a soft spot for drama. Like I said, I credit Gad mostly for that, but the kid actors are not bad either. This drama is not as good as some others I watched in 2014, but it's more than decent enough
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8/10
Honesty and emotional truth makes up for thematic spoon-feeding
Movie_Muse_Reviews10 August 2014
Zach Braff is the kind of guy who should be making films more often than every 10 years. "Garden State" put the very notion of "finding yourself" indie films on the map, at least for a certain generation. "Wish I Was Here" comes one too many of those films later to have the same kind of impact, but Braff's ability to emotionally connect to his audience still rings true.

One theory to explain the 10-year gap could well be how intensely personal his films are. There are so many autobiographical projections in his stories, with "Garden State" being deeply connected to his home state of New Jersey and "Wish I Was Here" playing heavily off his Jewish roots. The added dimension of Braff's brother Adam co-writing only enhances the movie's genuine, personal feeling.

The film takes place on the opposite coast. Aidan Bloom (Braff) is a 35-year-old father of two struggling to be an actor in L.A. while his wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson) works a tedious data job. In order to send their kids, Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) and Grace (Joey King) to a good school, they rely on help from Aidan's father, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), who insisted they go to an Orthodox Jewish day school.

When Gabe reveals his cancer has come back, he tells Aidan that he's decided to put the rest of his money into treatment, meaning his grandkids can no longer afford to attend their school. After the school refuses to provide any aid to the Blooms because Aidan's career is his "choice" and other families have greater needs, Sarah suggests that Aidan homeschool his kids, and their adventure of self-discovery begins.

The moment the film comes out of the gate it announces its intentions to be very existentially straightforward with the audience. Braff's voice-over narration recalls childhood memories of when he and his brother (Josh Gad) would pretend they were heroes and saying 'what if we're not the heroes, what if we're the ones meant to be saved?' "Wish I Was Here" is anything but subtle, but it doesn't mean Braff's not on to something.

Although the plot revolves around the homeschooling concept, that's far from the film's core, or what anyone will remember about it long after seeing it. Instead, it's about a man trying to reconcile the dreams of his younger years with the truth of his present. It's about learning not to be afraid, and about remembering what's important in life. You could almost go so far as to say these are plot points, because that's how much they guide the movie.

Yet for all this thematic heavy-handedness, Braff cuts to the core with a intuitive, humorous and thoughtful script and an eclectic cast that has latched on to his style of humor mixed with emotional transparency. Patinkin, for example, give such an earnest portrayal of a grandfather where you can't stand him and love him all the same. Hudson hasn't seemed this down to earth in her entire career. King, barely a teenager, is sure to be around for a long time.

So there might not be much room for thematic interpretation, but the issues and emotions of "Wish I Was Here" are incredibly true to life, albeit occasionally exaggerated for comedic effect. Aidan deals with the issues of being a father, a husband, a son, a brother, and an aspiring actor. These challenges are universal and they play out with a certain degree of thoughtfulness and sincerity. As such, "Wish I Was Here" is the kind of crowd-pleaser that will resonate with just about anyone, no matter how much you "like" it. It is too truthful to dismiss.
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3/10
Not that funny! 3/10
leonblackwood28 February 2015
Review: I wasn't a big fan of this film because the jokes weren't that funny and the storyline wasn't that great. I've always had a problem with Zach Braff, who became famous after the Scrubs series, because I find his type of humour a bit dry and not that funny. As he's the main character in this film, which is based around everyday family values, I couldn't really feel that much for the family who has severe money problems after Zach's dad it diagnosed with cancer and he can't pay for the kids school fees because he has to fund a new type of treatment. Personally I got bored of the movie, even though it's about serious family problems and the whole pace and feel of the film was quite depressing. Braff also directed the movie and he did try his hardest to add some wit to the script but it really didn't work with the serious subject matter. Kate Hudson played her usual sweet mummy next door type of role, which we have all seen, many times before and by the end of the film it felt like nothing major happened from beginning to end. On the plus side it didn't seem to drag because there is enough material to make it slightly interesting but I just didn't think that the material was that great. Disappointing!

Round-Up: In a lot of ways, this movie feels like a cheap and cheerful independent movie which is supposed to be light-hearted fun, some touching moments. Even though the family has financial problems, Zach Braff refuses to look for a job because he wants to follow his dream as an actor, but he just can't get any work. If anyone else was in that position, I'm sure they would forget about there acting career and try and look after there family but not in Zach's case. He is prepared to live of off his wife's wages and home school his children, just because he is adamant that he will live the dream as an actor. Maybe this is why I didn't have any sympathy for the struggling family but at least it ends up on a positive note.

Budget: $6million Worldwide Gross: $5.5million

I recommend this movie to people who are into their comedy/drama movies about a family who are in financial problems because the man of the house wants to pursue his acting career. 3/10
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