Garden State

Zach Braff, best known for his work on TV series Scrubs, goes all Streisand here by writing, directing and starring in his first feature film. Visually, it’s one of the most intense, original and captivating films of the year. In terms of the acting, it’s nearly flawless. Braff himself is something of a marvel, and he’s well supported by Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm, and slightly less well supported, but not so poorly supported that he falls over, by Natalie Portman. It’s also consistently funny, at least for the first 35 minutes. Then it gets more and more sappy, until this tale of a man’s emotional awakening at the death of his mother becomes, well, a tale of a man’s emotional awakening at the death of his mother, plus two teaspoons of sugar and a dollop of saccharin and a tender helping of special, special feelings. With any luck, his next feature will just feature the good stuff, and we’ll have a major new cinematic talent on our hands.  

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