Garden State

Rated 3.0 Zach Braff (TV’s Scrubs) makes an admirable directorial debut, if not an incredible one. He plays a down-on-his-luck actor who has spent his life on multiple medications prescribed by his father (Ian Holm). When his mother dies, he returns to his home state of New Jersey, hooks up with an old friend (Peter Sarsgaard) and meets the love of his life (Natalie Portman). He quits taking the meds, which helps fuel his emotional awakening. The movie looks good and features some strong acting. Braff’s script doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, but the love story is cute, and there are moments of genuine humor. Portman is luminous (no surprise there), and Sarsgaard shows yet again that he is one of the industry’s more underrated actors. Braff does fine acting work as well and is not overmatched as some critics have been saying. The movie makes me curious to see what he will do in the future.