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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Finger-snapping, head-bopping fun! Tom Everett Scott is effortlessly cool with his ugly-sexy mug, and Liv Tyler is luminous and effervescent. Steve Zahn looks suave and uncharacteristically the most grown up of the bunch. The O-nedders. Hyuk.
GAAAHHH!!! Really? Never has cancer-stricken-woman-lives-life-to-the-fullest been so...real. There's a special place in my heart for "A Walk to Remember," but it's admittedly saccharine and melodramatic. "Sweet November" may make you feel gooey, but the characters live in a pretty harsh and diverse world.
Jason Isaacs and Michael Rosenbaum play delightful supporting characters of the loving drag queen couple next door. Charlize Theron has the rare ability/beauty? to ground a quirky character, and Keanu Reeves is, well, stone-faced enough to portray emotionless at first, then dazed with grief later. The 12 Gifts of Christmas bit is so hokey, but you just have to roll with Keanu trying to be manic and cute.
And double props for the movie ending right where it needed to.
Zach Braff's crowd-funded sophomore effort received a lot of flack for its privileged genesis, its grammatically incorrect pseudo-clever title, and its obliqued trailer full of indie-pretentious images that drew inevitable comparisons to Braff's polarizing "Garden State." However, I was pleasantly surprised that "Wish I Was Here" is NOT just a continuation of Andrew Largeman's ennui-driven love story.
The movie is a realistic and funny treatment of Gen-Yers tasked with adult responsibilities of unruly kids, libido-less spouses, estranged siblings, and reconnecting with once tyrannical and now dying parents. Aidan Bloom is a dopey suburban dad who has to homeschool his kids after his father defaults on their yeshiva tuition due to exorbitant medical bills. Aidan's brand of guerilla life lesson is random and uplifting but not in a way that insists upon itself.
The local color of Los Angeles is quirky and moving with the disparate cultures of "Yom Kippur Jews," audition-circuit actors, and furry cosplayers. Brown Bear Donald Faison also cameos in an irreverent little misunderstanding that blends the cancer motif with the sheitel (wig) motif of Orthodox Judaism.
The kid actors are adorable: Joey King is a sweet, bright-eyed innocent, and Pierce Gagnon is as hilariously foulmouthed in this as he was creepy in "Looper." Kate Hudson is nicely glam-glum as the working mom who lost track of her dreams, but her character tips into "long-suffering-wife" territory with no true motivation or credit. When her erstwhile disapproving father-in-law gives her the rare compliment that she has the power to be a great matriarch someday, she counters, "I already am a great matriarch." She should have just stopped there instead of negating her power with, "Well, I'm trying anyway."
The reconciliation plot between father and sons is a bit cloying and sentimental, but on the whole, the movie is joyful, especially the end montage of little happinesses experienced in the moment before daughter Grace resurfaces from her first purifying foray into the water. I wouldn't say it's better than "Garden State" as a whole though. Despite the predecessor's reliance on the hipster atmospheric aesthetic, it really WAS the height of the mid-aughts' affected yet affecting quarter-life crisis movie - with its non sequitur humor, indie soundtrack, and tap-dancing Natalie Portman at her most heart-swelling. "Wish I Was Here" is beautifully nostalgic for the present, but it doesn't seem to commit hard enough.
Estranged friends begrudgingly reunite at behest of former leader-cum-has-been for epic bar crawl. Greasy, leather-clad Simon Pegg really sells the once-cool-badass-vibe-now-tinged-with-glory-days-delusion. The rest of the ragtag quintet are charming, especially handsome/nerdy Martin Freeman and blustery Nick Frost as straight men.
When the robot plot starts though, the movie devolves from a hilarious and bittersweet story about friends growing up and apart, to a merely average sci-fi spectacle.