Metascore
43

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 34
  2. Negative: 10 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    Jul 18, 2014
    100
    Everything is written to theme. Everything moves the film forward. When it comes down to the last half-hour, Braff manages a long sustained emotional crescendo packed with both laughs and tears, and it is accomplished work, carefully balanced, beautifully constructed.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 18, 2014
    75
    Braff plays Aidan with easygoing exasperation and Hudson is better than I’ve seen her since “Almost Famous.” As a director, Braff touches on lots of Big Themes: mortality, marriage, fatherhood, the disillusion of dreams. Nothing quite comes to full boil, though.
  3. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Jul 18, 2014
    75
    Yes. It is good. It is sincere, funny, thoughtful and spiritual, often poignant, and with a deep strain of existential worry running underneath the whole thing.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 17, 2014
    75
    Mainstream audiences will note that Hudson has never been better and that the tearjerking taps into something universal. For audiences seeking shelter from superhero carnage, Wish I Was Here is a lovely place to be.
  5. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 16, 2014
    75
    There are enough sharp one-liners and funny situations to keep things entertaining even as Braff delves (lightly) into genuine dilemmas confronting many a married couple.
  6. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Jan 27, 2014
    70
    A more mature work from actor-director-producer Zach Braff that feels like a Garden State for grown-ups.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jul 17, 2014
    63
    Wish I Was Here touches on some timely themes and does so with an artistic vulnerability.
  8. 63
    If you liked “Scrubs,” and I did, for a few seasons, anyway, you’ll be happy Braff got to make his movie and happy that you got to see it.
  9. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Sep 29, 2014
    60
    Since the adorable, simple Garden State, Braff’s ambitions as a filmmaker have grown. He’s reaching for answers to really big questions, but they are, just slightly, beyond his grasp.
  10. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 15, 2014
    60
    Wish I Was Here is at least stretching toward something, and even if its reach exceeds its grasp, Braff's earnest determination as a filmmaker and performer helps smooth out some of the awkward bumps.
  11. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Jan 27, 2014
    57
    Sprawling between plot lines and shifting between tones for longer than it ought to, but laden with enough pockets of truth to make you wish it had been better, more restrained, more disciplined, more trusting in its own emotional sensitivity to spare us all manner of dorky detours.
  12. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 17, 2014
    50
    It's a noble attempt at meaningful comedy-drama, but Braff struggles with shifting tones while mismanaging his own character. It's easier to appreciate the effort than it is to enjoy the film.
  13. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Jul 17, 2014
    50
    Here has a great soundtrack and some fine performances, particularly from King, who is a wonder. And credit Braff with some great imagery, deep thinking and moments of eloquent dialogue, however schmaltzy.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 17, 2014
    50
    If you liked “Garden State” — or if you hated it, for that matter — you pretty much know what you’re in for with Wish I Was Here.
  15. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 16, 2014
    50
    For better or for worse — okay, mostly for worse — he’s made the exact film he wanted to make; it just took him some time, and a lot of charity, to get the earnest thing off the ground.
  16. Reviewed by: Jason Clark
    Jul 16, 2014
    50
    Braff, who co-wrote the film with his own brother, is clearly attached to the semiautobiographical material here and still has a knack for sweet two-person scenes.
  17. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Jul 16, 2014
    50
    The death- and religion-obsessed Wish I Was Here is such a manifestly personal project that it's a shame it isn't even more idiosyncratic.
  18. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jan 27, 2014
    50
    Braff hasn't made another generational statement, but rather a regurgitation of tropes that got old a long time ago.
  19. Reviewed by: Cory Everett
    Jan 27, 2014
    42
    Wish I Was Here is not a total disaster, but the tricky tone seems like it needed more time in the editing room to focus its story and trim some of the extraneous threads.
  20. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jul 23, 2014
    40
    Patinkin and King’s characters’ wrangling with spirituality is sincere, and specific. Everything else in this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink film feels like too many ideas stored up over an especially long winter.
  21. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jul 17, 2014
    40
    Wish I Was Here, not unlike its predecessor "Garden State," captures a certain generational drift. It just doesn’t know what to do with it. So it beats the damned thing into the ground until it’s dead.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 17, 2014
    40
    One problem with “Wish” is that Braff tries to cram so much into it, no scene ever exists for its own sake, to establish rhythm or help us know these characters outside of the ongoing family crises.
  23. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 15, 2014
    40
    Some will find the director’s toothless brand of epiphany comforting (and download his mixtape), but the vast majority will find it tired.
  24. Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
    Jan 27, 2014
    40
    It feels as though it would have been better served as a six-part sitcom, where its sentimentality, broad comedy and fantasy elements wouldn't rub up against each other so badly.
  25. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jul 17, 2014
    38
    Even the most ardent fans of Braff’s first feature film, the charming Garden State, will struggle to warm up to this self-indulgent, uninvolving drama about an immature, almost-middle-aged guy trying to find himself with questions he should have had answers to long ago.
  26. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jul 16, 2014
    38
    Director/co-writer/actor Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here is a precious and condescending exercise in self-indulgent pandering, featuring one of the whiniest lead characters in recent memory.
  27. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Jul 17, 2014
    30
    For a film that purports to be about the process of maturity and growth, it is woefully un-evolved, lacking in understanding and insight.
  28. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jul 17, 2014
    30
    Wish I Was Here is so eager to please that you are never allowed to feel uncomfortable for more than a minute or two before a reassuringly stale joke rushes in to pat you on the head.
  29. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jul 16, 2014
    30
    When the film doesn’t strain for twinkly enlightenment, it stoops to find the easiest possible joke.
  30. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Jan 27, 2014
    30
    The result is unquestionably an auteur film, but one festooned with so many bad and unnecessary ideas that one can’t help wondering if a more modest, hemmed-in version of the same project might not have proved more effective.
  31. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 17, 2014
    25
    As an actor, Braff does thin-skinned sad-sack quite well. As a writer, he’s hopelessly banal. As a director, he’s a disaster.
  32. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 16, 2014
    25
    Pretentious (it thinks it’s a comedy but descends into depression faster than you can fill a Prozac prescription) and self-indulgent (whole scenes are thrown in for no reason except to stretch a five-minute sitcom pitch into nearly two hours of phony, contrived tedium), it’s a mess begging for coherence.
  33. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jul 14, 2014
    25
    It's hard to see the fiscal woes at the center of Zach Braff's second feature as anything more than a fashionable depiction of first-world problems.
  34. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jul 17, 2014
    12
    A sweet and sloppy jumble of fantasy, sentimentality, comedy and soul-searching that feels like a sitcom that never got past the pilot stage.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jul 30, 2014
    9
    I REALLY don't want to spoil this movie, so here is couple of things about it.
    Great Soundtrack. Movie is not boring and pretty funny. Watch
    I REALLY don't want to spoil this movie, so here is couple of things about it.
    Great Soundtrack. Movie is not boring and pretty funny. Watch it! You won't regret it
    It's magnificent on my opinion.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 14, 2014
    10
    A very good film with love without mushiness, comedy without being idiot, and Zach Braf is amazing with a real touch of him on the realisationA very good film with love without mushiness, comedy without being idiot, and Zach Braf is amazing with a real touch of him on the realisation and in his character. The casting is just incredible. Don't miss it. It deserve 2 hours of your life. Full Review »
  3. Aug 2, 2014
    5
    This is the project that Zach Braff co-wrote/directed/stars in and famously raised the money on Kickstarter. When I saw it, one contributingThis is the project that Zach Braff co-wrote/directed/stars in and famously raised the money on Kickstarter. When I saw it, one contributing member of the audience stayed thru the credits to see her name…alas, she was not one of the few selected from the 46K contributors. She was disappointed and so was I (for different reasons). Braff plays an unsuccessful actor, who's supported by wife Kate Hudson and trying to raise 2 kids. It has tastes of the quirky style he demonstrated in "Garden State," but it's trying too hard to find that left-field charm. Then comes his father's death, which permeates the final act with tedious drama. While it's well enough directed and the performances are fine, his ambitious but unsuccessful script drags the whole thing down. Full Review »