Garden State ★★

I’m conflicted about this one. On one hand, I like some of the concepts presented throughout the film, namely a challenge to psychopharmacology’s dominance of mental healthcare, as well as the exploration of family impact on well being. On the other, I feel the execution is mostly meandering, and the deep concepts of love, relationship, and healing are all simplified to the point of reverie. In this sense, I feel the film attempts to tackle some weighty subject matter, but then undercuts any real depth with shallow characterization and banal plot devices. 
Zach Braff’s performance is underwhelming and boring, which is unfortunate considering he’s in every scene. Natalie Portman’s character has taken the quirk factor off the charts, in what can only be seen as a direct challenge to Zooey Deschanel’s dominance in this field. While Natalie does some of the best acting in the film, her character is pure Hollywood fantasy. This person doesn’t exist. And if she does, she isn’t falling in love with Zach Braff’s character in 3 days. 
Of course this trope of the “loser” guy being immediately redeemed by the available, super-attractive cool girl is nothing new. It’s appeal can be won or lost through performances, writing, and overall inventiveness; none of which really grabbed me. I guess I’m not that conflicted after all. Oh well.