We’ve been following Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded indie Wish I as Here since it first burst onto the scene (controversially, for some) just over a year ago. After a lukewarm Sundance premier, the film is working hard to generate buzz as it approaches its July 25th wide release (following a limited opening a week earlier). And how’s it doing that? With its first theatrical trailer.
Wish I Was Here dropped a teaser trailer in April, but with no audible dialogue and “Simple Song” by The Shins playing over the entire run, it was more like being in a restaurant and smelling a dish on its way to another table than actually tasting the appetizer. This time we get plenty of dialogue and even looks at a couple scenes, beginning with once surrounding a good old-fashioned swear jar (which makes a repeat appearance at several points in the trailer).
It’s an interesting mix of melancholy, especially early in the trailer, with a distinct drive for hopeful warm fuzzies by the end. As we’ve mentioned before, this is sort of Braff’s M.O., with multiple critics who saw the film at Sundance likening it to a Garden State for the middle aged. Prominently featured in the trailer are Joey King (White House Down) as the daughter of Braff’s Aiden Bloom, Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) as Aiden’s wife Sarah, Mandy Patinkin (TV’s Homeland) as his dying father, Josh Gad (Olaf from Frozen) as his escapist slacker brother, and Pierce Gagnon (Rio 2) as his young son. Look closely and you’ll also find appearances from Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), Scrubs co-star Donald Faison, and Ashley Green in a role that originally belonged to Anna Kendrick.
Thematically, the emphasis is certainly on the intersection of fantasy and reality, with multiple shots of what appear to be a space fantasy sequence as well as well as Aiden espousing the need to translate dreams of heroic action into the need for, and perhaps even (at times) inability to perform, actual heroism. The trailer is inescapably saccharine at times, but given the moroseness exhibited in much of the footage, we’ll reserve judgment on the possibility it could be part of the characters’ attempts at escapism in the face of hardship.
As we said at the top, your chance to find out for yourself will come in mid- to late-July.