Wish I Was Here

Focus Features

First of all, you won’t be surprised by the band included in the trailer for Wish I Was Here. Second of all, you won’t be surprised by the raw quirkiness at work.

It’s very Braffian.

Which is remarkable considering that Zach Braff has only directed two features. He’s already nailed down a signature style as a sophomore. Here he follows up Garden State with the next step in adult existential crisis and a hint of Walter Mitty. Braff plays Aidan Bloom, an unsuccessful actor who ends up having to home school his children. It’s an even money guess on who learns the most out of the deal.

It’s ideal as a teaser — large on flash and limited on details — but that first line (and its repetition) are an Alamo-sized line in the sand for potential viewers. That’s a full-on Stuart Smalley slogan right there. Like a mouthful of honey.

On the Walter Mitty front, the spacesuit and poetic high adventure mentality points in that direction or, at the very least, evokes the image of the man famous for living in his imagination. This will undoubtedly be a different movie, but I’d be really curious to see how a general audience responds to something like this so soon after Ben Stiller’s big budget attempt at creativity. The same nerve endings are all there, except it’s children instead of an unrequited office love.

Unfortunately, our Sundance review of Wish I Was Here from Robert doesn’t shine any more sunbeams on the potential for success.

As a fan of Garden State, I hold out hope. I’ll almost definitely head to the theater wearing a schmaltz protective suit, but, yes,  I hold out hope. And what will I hope for? That the movie is as unique and amazing as that kid with the wig.

Wish I Was Here is in theaters July 25th.

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