Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Wish I Was Here – 2014


To view Zach Braff in a light completely separate from his most notable role of John Dorian is a near-impossible feat; especially when the now-director includes almost the entire supporting cast of “Scrubs” in his second feature length picture.
Zach Braff is an interesting man that appears to be highly gifted, it’s just he seems to be in the honeymoon phase of his J.D days that made him who he is today. Braff’s second picture “Wish I Was Here” focuses on family unity, love and inspiration as well as being an overall emotional and humorous film.

Not to be confused with 2012’s “Wish You Were Here”, this story is one that sees the protagonist, who is course the writer, producer and director in Braff, fall down on his luck in almost every way possible.
Financially unstable, distanced from certain kin and stressed beyond measure, Braff’s Aidan Bloom sets out to prove himself to those who don’t believe in him, as well as making life easier for his wife and kids.


Co-written and produced by Zach’s brother Adam Braff, “Wish I Was Here” appears to be a deeply connected screenplay with some important elements thrown in to increase the emotional punch. What detracts from the experience overall is the fact that Braff, who no doubt earned a pretty penny from his “Scrubs” years asked the general public to assist in funding the film in the form of a kick-starter campaign.
Personally, I’m all for the kick-starter route when making a film, it’s often the only way up and coming directors with no money can get given a chance.
I don’t think however, that accomplished actors like Braff who already have a feature length directed picture under their belt should be taking over the spotlight and denying several aspiring filmmakers a chance to create something special.
This (without sounding overly harsh) slightly nepotistic and audacious picture is quite an enjoyable one to it’s credit, but the story regarding it’s production just doesn’t sit right with me, and in turn, makes the enjoyability factor a little less than it could be.


The soundtrack is great. There are some really fitting tracks amongst the mix, but at times it seems as though Braff tried to cram as many heartfelt tracks from his iTunes playlist as he could into every scene transition and the various slow-motion montages of him bonding with his kids.
Apart from the borderline overkill element to the soundtrack, it is quite impressive and makes for a sweet collection on spotify.

The cast is relatively small, with some excellent performances form Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin and of course Braff himself carrying it along very well. The children are also excellent, in particular Joey King as daughter Grace – this girl is going places!
Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper) also has a part to play within the story, but it’s very small and doesn’t have enough time to emerge into anything special or remarkable, he’s just…there.


The biggest distraction for the film as far as casting goes is the aforementioned supporting cast of “Scrubs” getting another go. Michael Weston, Alexander Chaplin, Donald Faison, Bob Clendenin and Matt Wilson all make appearances and when seeing them interact with not only Braff’s Adrian but each other, it really doesn’t feel like we’re being transported into a completely different story as an audience. The other fact that a lot of the film is set in a hospital doesn’t help either…

To put it bluntly, “Wish I Was Here” is a relatively impressive piece that has obviously been thought about for a very long time. Zach Braff has his head screwed on tightly when it comes to directing, and there are some particularly funny scenes involving home schooling which he has obviously put a lot of effort into.
I do feel however that he is capable of more, and it will come as soon as J.D is scrubbed completely away from his mind.



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This entry was posted on October 8, 2014 by in 2014.
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