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Garden State
Posted to Movies at 09:00 AM on Jan 8, 2007

2004. Miramax Pictures. Directed by Zach Braff. Starring Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, and Ian Holm.

I don't like Zach Braff. There. I don't like him. I know saying so is like kicking a puppy, but I find him utterly annoying. I think his adorable dork act is contrived. I like Scrubs but can only tolerate it in small doses because of Braff.

Come to think of it, I don't really think much of Natalie Portman, either. If I hear one more person compare her to Audrey Hepburn, I'm going to scream. I don't care if she went to Harvard. That doesn't make her a great actress. And I really don't care if she's cute.

No matter who was in this movie, though, it would still be a whiny, cloying, pretentious waste of ninety minutes.

Okay. It's not that bad. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with Garden State. It's a perfectly okay movie. It's actually well-filmed and sort of funny. I just realize, at age twenty-fourteen, that it's just a tad outside my demographic. I never thought that would happen, but there you go. I can't relate to a single person in this movie.

I hate the Lovably Weird Girl. The Lovably Weird Girl shows up in too many movies. There's no reason to have a LWG in this movie. Why can't there be a nice, normal, boring girl in movies for a change? The LWG only shows up in movies to make plot where there is none. This movie spends so much time on Natalie Portman's quirky weirdness. She's just so weird and cute that our hero, Andrew (Braff) can't help but fall in love with her.

It's all so precious and touchy-feely. Andrew's an actor in L.A. and goes back home to Jersey to attend his mom's funeral. He meets Sam (Portman) the next day, and they make quirky faces at each other while we learn that Andrew is pretty screwed up. He needs to get off his meds.

We know at the beginning that Andrew's stay in Jersey is temporary and that he has to go back eventually. He has a career. But we're expected to believe at the end that he's about to chuck it all for his own personal LWG. It's not believable or logical and it totally goes against everything we think about him up until that point.

Peter Sarsgaard is a good actor, and he's wasted in Garden State. He's a stock stoner character. There's nothing subtle or complex about him or any of the supporting cast. All of the character-development mojo is spent on Sam and Andrew, and the movie is the worse for it.


"Twenty-fourteen" equals "twenty plus fourteen," me thinks.
Posted by Ryan at January 8, 2007 10:25 AM

My eyes skipped the "-teen". What clever obfuscation. (I need my eyes checked, evidently.)
Posted by NemesisVex at January 8, 2007 11:30 AM

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