Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Braff Wastes Opportunities In 'Wish I Was Here'

Maybe they're laughing with him and not at him?
Maybe they're laughing with him and not at him?
Credit rottentomatoes.com

One myth Hollywood will never give up is that a desire to be in show business is a divine calling never to be outgrown.

In Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff's character cannot support his family and apparently peaked his acting career with a dandruff commercial. His wife, Kate Hudson, asks him whether his dream of playing a costumed comic-book superhero is the only dream his family of four is allowed, and his father, Mandy Patinkin, tells him that at some point he has to support his family.

I won't tell you what becomes of all that, but don't get your hopes up.

When Patinkin gets cancer and can no longer pay for Braff's children's private schooling, Braff tries to homeschool them in some scenes that show little about what homeschooling is and that garner few laughs.

Meanwhile, Hudson's work situation is hampered by a pretty trifling case of what she calls sexual harassment, which leads to what may have been intended to show Braff's growing up a little, but nothing shows either that he has acting talent or that he is developing a sense of responsibility. Patinkin slowly wastes away from one of those movie diseases that shows no visible signs.

Utter lack of reality is the biggest problem with Wish I Was Here, which, in Hudson and Patinkin, includes characters too believable and sympathetic to fit such a farcical world.

There isn't much plot in Wish I Was Here, and the only surprise is that so little is done with so much potential thematic material.