Wish I Was Here

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 46min

STARRING: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon, Mandy Patinkin

Here we go! From left, Gagnon, Braff (with swear jar) and King

As a Jewish, middle-class, unemployed Los Angeles actor with two obstreperous kids (King and Gagnon as Grace and Tucker) and an overburdened wife (Hudson as Sarah), 35-year-old Aidan Bloom (Braff) is hit hard by his existential crisis. His cancer-riddled dad, Gabe (Patinkin), is dying, his boorish brother, Noah (Gad), is a trailer-housed shut-in and with Gabe’s finances leaking into alternative treatments, he can no longer stump up Grace and Tucker’s private-school fees. Meanwhile, Sarah can barely stand her low-rung office job but doesn’t dare to stop working.


When he’s firing, Braff (Garden State), who also directs and who co-wrote the quirky-ouchy script with his brother Adam, astutely merges wry jibes with hangdog unease. You totally buy him as a suburban dad straddling a shaky threshold of misdirected purpose and faith, with his tag-team family, each one a casting gift, doing its upfront bit to layer a shaded portrait. The metaphysics and moony Deep & Meaningfuls are a big bag of wind, but by the time the Brothers Braff get to where they want to go, it seems downright mean not to care.