‘Wish I Was Here’ Trailer #2: Zach Braff’s Pursuit Of Happiness

Published 11 months ago by

Most people probably remember Zach Braff from his long tenure on the now-defunct NBC sitcom Scrubs. Almost as many recollect his 2004 directorial debut, Garden State. (And no one thinks about 2006′s The Last Kiss, which Braff starred in and did uncredited rewrites on.) At present, though, people may best recognize Braff for the swelling kerfuffle over his decision to fund his latest effort, Wish I Was Here, through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter; it’s a case of contextual brouhaha overtaking actual discussion of the film itself.

A first glimpse of the movie via last month’s teaser trailer changed that somewhat; now, with the release of Wish I Was Here‘s full trailer, seen above, we may finally get around to talking about what Braff has up his sleeve and whether or not it’ll be worth watching. If anything, Wish I Was Here – with its emphasis on directionless characters and strained familial relationships – looks an awful lot like a Zach Braff story, which is to say that he’s not exactly shuffling outside of his comfort zone with this project. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if he manages to hit the right emotional sweet spots.

Wish I Was Here deals with professional and personal discontentment, as Aidan Bloom (Braff) – struggling actor, father, husband, son, and brother – tries to balance out every facet of his life in the pursuit of happiness. Of course, his quest doesn’t matter, a message that’s bluntly delivered by his Rabbi, but that’s not going to stop Aidan: whether by test-driving an Aston Martin (with Braff’s ex-Scrubs cohort and real life pal Donald Faison in the passenger seat), or by buying his daughter, Grace (Fargo‘s Joey King), a wig to cover her shaved head, Aidan’s out to make the best of being alive.

Wish I Was Here Braff Gagnon King Wish I Was Here Trailer #2: Zach Braffs Pursuit Of Happiness

Like Garden State, Wish I Was Here is packed to the gunwales with attempts at human insight and coy jokes about the protagonist’s existential crisis. (See: the “This pamphlet will save your life” gag.) Listening to the one-liners and murmurings uttered by the cast – which includes Braff, Kate Hudson, Homeland‘s Mandy Patinkin, Frozen‘s Josh Gad, King, and Looper‘s Trevor Gagnon – definitely invokes the sort of whimsy, charm, and melancholy of Garden State; it could be that Wish I Was Here winds up being a companion piece to that film.

If you weren’t on-board for Garden State, though, it’s likely that Wish I Was Here isn’t going to be your cup of tea. And maybe public vitriol toward Braff will create even more backlash against the movie once it hits theaters this summer. Until then, though, enjoy this briskly cut (if overlong) look into Braff’s forthcoming slice of introspection.


Wish I Was Here hits theaters on July 18th, 2014.

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
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  1. This looks great. I felt warm watching this lol

    • Just like garden state, Zach seems to have made another film that has heart and soul. Ive enjoyed his work in GardenState, the Ex, TheLastKiss, & theHighCostofLiving… Braff always delivers. This will be a nice break from all the comic/monster action movies. do the eeeagle and check it out in july

      • You are not the only one…felt al warm inside and the hairs on mmy arms just stood up

  2. Love Zach Braff and anything he does. Looking forward to this!

  3. I instantly hated this movie because of how it got some of its funding. This trailer isn’t bad, maybe better than I expected, and I’ll wait till I actually see it before I judge.

    Can’t stand Zach Braffs face, but I’ll hand it to him, this is a nice trailer.

  4. I used to enjoy his work, but the way he came at that kid a few years ago on Punked was not cool.
    not to mention he physically assaulted a 12 year old boy at almost 30…

    • I’m sorry, but not liking his work because he’s done a crime is like saying that you can’t enjoy any of Roman Polanski’s or Mel Gibson’s work (if it is true). It’s kind of stupid. When watching movies, you shouldn’t judge a movie based on the character of the person but on the quality of the movie.

      • Actually, Polanski is a perfect example of someone who I will not support in any way due to his criminal actions. I will never pay to see a Polanski movie.

      • Oh so if the performer is a woman beater or a racist or child molester or anything messed up i shouldn’t hold that against them as a person jus as long as there performance was good ?
        I’m sorry but if u do something i morally do not agree with i will not support you regardless of what.

      • Ok based on ur logic i shouldn’t hold it against someone who beats on his wife , makes racial remarks, or sexually assaults underage girls if they put out quality films ? Sorry but no. If u do or promote something i morally cannot agree with then i will not be supportive of you or anything said person stands for.

      • Really? Did you just put Mel Gibson in the same category as Polanski?

        And thanks for telling us how to how to feel and what morals we should and shouldn’t have.

    • If I had just purchased a Porsche and saw a kid spray painting the car, I’d want to beat him up too…

  5. I loved ‘Scrubs,’ and always will. I was so moved by ‘Garden State,’ years ago that I was worried that as writer, and director Zach Braff was a “One Hit Wonder.” But, since he announced this movie with his Kickstarter ( Which I’m proud to say that I contribute to) these trailers make me feel that I will once more be moved a second time. Zach Braff can do NO wrong with me, I’ll be there on opening day wherever it’s playing.

  6. The trailer looks good, but there is something about it that I don’t like and I can’t put my finger on it.

    • Got it: It does not quite look cinematic. But, that could be intentional, could be a newer DP or it could be because I know the locations they shot the film in too well.