Braff’s debut directorial of a major motion picture may not be a home run, but is surely a surprising packet of delight that pleads you to keep a broad smile plastered throughout this sweet mellow journey. Arguably an introvert, revisiting his hometown that mends the broken things, is not a fresh take on drama, but the rudimentary process no matter how gullible, elevates the theme to a bright sunny day. The shady past and social conflicts between friends and family remains mediocre throughout the course, the only overwhelmed experienced to this stay, is Portman in her chirpy persona that keeps her emotions on the surface. Using his strength of the star cast to his best, Braff keeps her on the lead no matter with whom the screen is being shared.
The suave and soothing chemistry of theirs along with smart funny conversation keeps arguing back to all of our complaints. After which, the textbook structure and the overridden concept barely matters, Braff makes sure you too, as an audience, communicate with the gravitas of leaving your hometown. Braff as a performer suits in this low lazy boy costume fabricated for humor with aces held in his pocket. Portman, the trump card of this low budget drama soars above all, shattering the expectations and setting a new benchmark on a rom-com genre for her.
The tightly packed screenplay that flows smoothly in its first act is jaggedly on mark that leaves a long lasting impression, from a hip and happening party to the first meeting with Portman’s, each tiny detail factors in majorly on storytelling. Addition to that, the humor never feels stretching the case or even an extra bit of the narration, it all feels like an essential part of the act. Garden State is a merry state, this teenage flick raises the bar to survive as an independent family drama.