Grow Up!

Garden State

Zach Braff of TV’s Scrubs wrote, directed, and stars in Garden State, and I’m guessing people much younger than I think it is, as the kids say, “the shit.” The main character emerges from his drug-induced emotional coma to feel something, and the movie’s attempt to salvage meaning from a haze of disaffection is admirable. Many things in Garden State are very good, particularly throwaway comedy bits involving a Clapper, a knight, humping dogs, and an MRI. A scene in which Peter Sarsgaard (in easily the film’s best performance) steals jewelry from the dead is distressing, real, and refreshingly underplayed. But the work as a whole is underdeveloped. The jokes are random, the story arc is appallingly facile, and Braff — clearly in the thrall of Wes Anderson — makes the movie too self-consciously hip in both framing and tone. Garden State is immature, a few drafts and years away from being good.

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