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Movie Review: Garden State

Alternate Title: (Sometimes) You Can Go Home Again

Story: Kudos to first time writer and director Zach Braff (TV's Scrubs) for this very entertaining, creative and quirky film.

As the film opens we find twenty something Andrew Largeman living a stereotypical actor/waiter life in LA. His larger problem is that he has been medicated for most of his life and is numb to his surroundings. Suddenly called home to NJ to attend his mother's funeral he meets, interacts and discovers many new things that could change his emotionally dead life. You could call it a coming out of a haze (not a coming of age) film.

We meet some zany, very alive, sympathetic characters along his journey. This low budget, 25 day film shoot ends up to be an exceptionally sweet, intimate film well worth your time.

Oh yes one more thing -- any film that uses Klingon dialogue is high up on my must see list.

Acting: Fine performances all around. A special bravo to Peter Sarsgaard as Mark, the grave digging, stoner, grave robber. Also it is nice to see Natalie Portman in a film that can show off her acting skills. Zach Braff humbly allowed his fellow actors the bigger performances.

Predilection: I like to see film festival favorites.

Critters: Oodles of animals including a very horny guide dog, a self gratifying pug, two cats and a hamster (deceased).

Blatant Product Placement: Apple computer, Zoloft, Paxil, Lithium and other common drugs.

Soundtrack: Foot tapping and delightful.

Theater Audience: I attended an early Sunday showing with one of my native Jersey gal pal friends (authenticity factor). There were also a smattering of other attendees. We all laughed at the same places. A guy across the aisle from me fell asleep about 2/3's of the way through and his breathing was very annoying.

Sappy Factor: 1

Quirky Meter: 3

Predictability Level: The film was not predictable and that was a big part of the entertainment factor.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No.

Big Screen or Rental: Go enjoy it on the big screen and support a budding new directorial talent. For some other Peter Sarsgaard film try renting: Shattered Glass, K-19: The Widowmaker, Boys Don't Cry and Dead Man Walking.

Length: Under two hours.