Wish I Was Here

WRITTEN BY: Zach Braff , Adam J. Braff
STARRING: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon
RATING: 3 stars

You can see what Zach Braff and his brother Adam were trying to do when they wrote Wish I Was Here, but the film does not quite get to the point it is reaching for. There is too much sappy dialogue about the importance of family and an over-emphasis on the Jewish faith that it could almost alienate some viewers. The film is sweet and funny in parts, but some scenes felt like a series of short films or skits. The film is not very long, but it dragged on. Ultimately, it is a cute story that is easily forgettable.

Aidan Bloom (Braff) is a failed actor whose best job was in a television commercial. All the financial burden is placed on his wife Sarah (Kate Hudson), who hates her job and co-workers. They have two children who go to a private Jewish school paid for by Aidan's dad Gabe (Mandy Patinkin) who is a harsh and grumpy old man. But when Gabe falls ill, he can no longer pay for the school and selfish Aidan is forced to reassess his life choices and how they are affecting his family.

Unfortunately, Aidan is not a very likeable character and it is only because Braff himself seems to be a nice and funny guy in real life that the audience can even care about him. However, he and Hudson do have good chemistry. Patinkin gives a great performance with a complex character. Josh Gad plays Aidan's brother but his character needed more development. Joey King and Pierce Gagnon were both very good as Aidan's children, especially King whose character has an interesting journey as a young Jewish girl. I wanted to know more about her.

Wish I Was Here is sentimental but perhaps a little too over-the-top.