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Review: Garden State (2004)

Garden State (2004)

Directed by: Zach Braff

Premise: Andrew (Zach Braff) returns to his home state of New Jersey and meets a carefree young woman (Natalie Portman).

What Works: The film is very charming. Braff and Portman work very well together and give their romance a quirky authenticity. Some of the film’s best moments are Andrew’s interactions with his former high school friends and other residents. The film captures the awkwardness and outsider nature of the prodigal son in a way that is fresh because of the color of those characters.

What Doesn’t: The film’s prodigal son model makes things a little predictable and Andrew is the least interesting character in the film. The conclusion is not entirely satisfying because it does not resolve the relationship between Braff and Portman’s characters. 

DVD extras: Commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurette, outtakes, and bloopers.

Bottom Line: Despite its flaws, Zach Braff has written and directed a gem of a movie. It is not the most brilliant or original picture but it is refreshing and it does have some genuine emotions and insight.

Episode: #43 (March 13, 2005)