IMDB Rating: 4.0 (459 votes)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Amy Ferguson, Jill Flint, Gary Gilbert
Summary: Zach Braff (from the TV show "Scrubs") stars in his writing/directing debut, "Garden State"--normally a doomed act of hubris, but Braff pulls it off with unassuming charm. An emotionally numb actor in L.A., Andrew (Braff) comes back to New Jersey after nine years away for his mother's funeral. Andrew avoids his bitter father (Ian Holm, "The Sweet Hereafter") and joins old friends (including the superb Peter Sarsgaard, "Boys Don't Cry") in a round of parties. Along the way he meets a girl (Natalie Portman, "Beautiful Girls") with demons of her own; bit by bit the two offer each other a little healing. Plotwise, "Garden State" is familiar stuff, a cross between "The Graduate" and a Meg Ryan movie, but Braff has an eye for goofy but resonant visual images, an ear for lively dialogue, and a great cast. The result is surprisingly fresh and funny. "--Bret Fetzer"