Rating: R for language, drug use, and sexuality
Run Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Twenty-something is the new adolescence, a contemporary trend Zach Braff (TV’s Scrubs) weaves effortlessly into his offbeat coming-of-age tale.
Largeman, aka Large (Braff) is coming home again, returning to his
Home isn’t pretty, but its home. Large’s blue-collar buddies are the definition of dead end; the best of the bunch (as portrayed by the supremely talented Peter Sarsgaard) digs graves for a living and is sure to strike it rich on the next big pyramid scheme.
Bunking with dad (Ian Holm), a psychiatrist who keeps Large well-supplied with medication, isn’t a picnic either, since father and son exist in a perma-state of awkwardness born of guilt and blame over a freak accident that handicapped mom.
Large needs to find himself, even if it means living without a chemical crutch. Shades of Benjamin Braddock in a new millennium The Graduate. Enter situation-savior Sam (Natalie Portman), a quirky young thing sans guile or pretense. Her fearless spirit and joie-de-vivre is just what the doctor ordered.
Braff is a
triple threat (writer, director, star) who works wonders with his spare
narrative and funky ensemble. His is a
fantasy of piquant visual pleasures; vivid anti-depressant withdrawals to the
greyer shades of the enigmatic
Portman gives her most important performance since her awe-inspiring work in 1996’s Beautiful Girls. Braff lets his muted angst spill over all with apprehensive but heartfelt relief.
This is personal stuff – shot in and around
Braff’s own hometown of