Zach Braff’s long-in-the-making follow-up to Garden State has already been through plenty of dings in the press – first, there was that crowdfunding campaign that eventually backfired (Braff made the money he wanted, but he lost a lot of respect from people when his desire to do things his way seemingly went out the window when some bigger financiers stepped in and ponied up more cash) and then there was a slew of bad reviews out of Sundance (our own Eric D. Snider saw the film at the festival, and you can read his brilliant review here – suffice to say, I personally agree with every word) – but the film did get picked up by Focus Features for a pretty penny and it’s set to hit theaters later this summer.
Will such bad pre-release buzz affect the film’s ultimate box office? We’ll just have to wait until July to see, but for now, we’ve got a first trailer to watch to try to get an idea of just what Braff and company are trying to sell.
The film stars Braff as a down-on-his-luck actor (hmm, we say) who takes over his two young kids’ education when the funding that’s so far put them through private school runs out. See, Braff’s dad (played by Mandy Patinkin, who is a bright spot in the film) is dying, and as he’s the one who used to pay for the kiddos’ schooling, he’s pulled the plug, because he needs that money for treatment. It’s a one-two punch of emotion – freaked out kids, sick dad – and a stressed out wife with a crappy work life (played by Kate Hudson) doesn’t help matters. There’s also the younger brother (Josh Gad) who is too busy trying to woo a neighbor by way of dressing up at Comic-Con to try to reconcile with the rest of his family, no matter how dire things seem. There’s also an entire subplot about Braff’s character’s desire to essentially become a superhero.
Drama, right? Lots of it. And plot? A bunch! But good luck getting any of that out of this first trailer, which is all about mood, “cool” bits of conversation, and a desperate need to remind people of the stuff they loved about Garden State. Instead of introducing emotion, this trailer just goes for neat visuals and an evocative soundtrack.
Come to think of it, that’s sort of what the entire film does.
Wish I Was Here will open on July 18.
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