Wish I Was Here

A decade after writing and directing the indie favorite Garden State (2004), TV actor Zach Braff returns with his second feature, a huggy story about a failed actor (Braff) trying to get closure with his disappointed father (Mandy Patinkin) before the old man succumbs to cancer. The earlier, comedic scenes work a lot better than the later, dramatic ones, thanks mainly to Braff’s wide-eyed, deadpan performance and good supporting work from Kate Hudson as the hero’s frustrated wife and Josh Gad as his no-account brother. This often plays like a younger, hipper version of a Rob Reiner comedy, which isn’t really a compliment unless you consider younger and hipper to be inherently complimentary; the movie was largely bankrolled by a Kickstarter campaign that collected more than $3 million, and the result is agreeable enough that none of the 46,520 contributors is likely to feel gypped.