Wish I Was Here

Directed By: Zach Braff

Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Jim Parsons, and Mandy Patinkin

This is one of those weekends when I need a little inspiration.  With the exception of Richard Linklater's outstanding Boyhood, I'm less than impressed with what's arriving at both the mainstream and independent box offices.  Like its predecessor, The Purge: Anarchy fails to deliver the thrilling punch it has the power to pack.  Like the original Planes, Fire and Rescue is the VOD flick that should have never made its way to theaters.  I haven't even seen Sex Tape, but I've heard nothing but abysmal things about it.  Finally, we have the indie Wish I Was Here from actor-director Zach Braff.  To sum up the movie succinctly, Wish I Was Here misses the mark.

Aidan Bloom (Braff) is a loving husband, a dedicated father, and first and foremost a struggling actor.  Content to suffer until he realizes his dreams, Aidan leaves the bread-making to his wife Sarah (Kate Hudson).  Even worse, Aidan's father Saul (Mandy Patinkin) pays to have Aidan's kids Grace and Tucker (Joey King & Pierce Gagnon) attend a Jewish private school.  The only real financial support Aidan brings to his family is through his penchant for using profane language and subsequently funding the family's swear jar.  This unsuccessful guy unable to support his own family can only hold his head high next to his genius brother Noah (Josh Gad), who's an even larger waste of potential.  However, both Aidan and Noah will have to grow up and finally become men once they learn that their father Saul has cancer and that he doesn't have much time left in this world.

Wish I Was Here has a lot of heart, but it's lacking so much more.  We've all seen those movies about transitioning into that chapter of adulthood when our parents move on from this earthly existence.  Zach Braff's latest film does nothing to break new ground in this territory and leaves a lot to be desired.  Beyond its predictable, formulaic narrative, Wish I Was Here seems to be playing on quite a few stereotypes about Jews and serving it up as undercooked comedy.  I'm not the cultural expert here, but I have my doubts about the humor being tasteful.  I also take issue with the film's cheap usage of pop culture references to deliver laughs.

All in all, Wish I Was Here is a totally unnecessary film with the sole purpose of filling the 2014 quota for indie comedy-dramas.  With some creativity and originality, the film could have been so much more.  As it stands, it's a waste of your time as well as mine.  Wish I Was Here gets a 0.09% rating.  Have some electric lemonades with this one.  You'll need the jolt.