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Wish I Was Here | 2014 | R | - 6.4.8

A stressed out actor (Zach Braff) is searching for his identity. Struggling financially, he daydreams, imagining himself as a superhero, while attempting to homeschool his children after his father (Mandy Patinkin) can no longer pay for their private school. Also with Kate Hudson, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon and Josh Gad. The film has some dialogue in Hebrew with English subtitles. Directed by Braff. [1:45]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - In a hotel bedroom, a man and a woman wearing large, bulky spacesuit and animal costumes appear to be having sex while fully clothed: she is on all fours on the bed and he is thrusting from behind as we hear some heavy breathing and moaning, and the man's niece calls his cell phone and asks if his costume was good enough to get him some sex and he says yes.
 In four scenes women wear white clingy tank tops with thin straps that reveal nipples through the material along with cleavage. A theater scene features women wearing long ball gowns that reveal cleavage. At ComiCon, many men and women wear figure-hugging costumes that emphasize bosoms, thighs and legs; a few costumes bare the midriffs and thighs of women.
 A man in his home office stands in front of his desk with his back to the camera, his trousers down and his boxers down to reveal full bare buttocks; a laptop produces sounds of a woman screaming in sexual ecstasy and the man's body movement suggests masturbation.
 A male coworker sexually harasses a woman at work in their office cubicle; he says that when he wears no underwear he gets aroused [sexual term deleted] and she tells him to stop and when she complains to her boss he tells her to "lighten up" before moving the man to another desk space; later, the man is sued and forced to take a sexual harassment awareness course seven times in succession.
 An 8-year-old boy asks his father and uncle, "Can I have some [sexual reference deleted]?"; he thinks it is the drink Tang instead of sex and the father answers that it's only for astronauts. A girl learns in a Jewish school that she must sit behind a heavy wooden screen so the boys cannot see her and must one day shave her hair off and wear a modesty wig for her husband and that God wants women's bodies to stay covered up. A man tells his young granddaughter wearing a bright neon wig that she looks like she is in the world's oldest profession; she does not understand and he does not mention explain.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A woman argues loudly with her male cubicle mate about his sexual harassment of her (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details); weeks later in a store her husband tells the man to stay away from her, the second man punches the husband in the face, giving him a black eye and loudly breaking a glass jar of money the husband was carrying and scattering the money across the floor.
 A man attempts to homeschool his elementary school children and they argue loudly; we see the children asleep in straight back chairs after having been duct taped to them and their uncle pops a switchblade and says that he will cut them loose (we do not see the action).
 An elderly man becomes weak and asks his family to gather around him for the end and they all become tearful as he says that if there is a next time, he'll do better as a father and dies quietly and we see his closed-casket funeral. An elderly man moves home to die when he hears that he has liver failure and a few months to a year to live. In a hospital room, an elderly man lies with IV tubes in one hand and an oxygen mask over his face as we hear machines beep.
 A pre-teen girl screams in rage and shaves her hair; her parents shout about it when they next see her and her father buys her a bright fuchsia wig from a salesman who misidentifies her as a cancer patient; weeks later, she shaves her hair again and obtains a blue-black wig.
 An elderly rabbi rides a Segway through hospital hallways crashing into a wall in the background (he is unhurt). A man takes a test drive in an expensive sports car and squeals the tires as he speeds along a busy street.
 A man attempts to explain death to his young children; he and his wife discuss the fact that they don't know how to explain death, because they don't know what they believe themselves. A man says that he wants nothing to do with his dying father; he later tells his young niece that he is afraid to see his father die and they both cry. We hear that a woman's sister died and the woman did not tell her sister she loved and idolized her. A grouchy elderly man insists that his adult son stop trying to be an actor and get a real job to support the family, but the son argues and refuses. An elderly rabbi belittles a man for not having a job and supporting his family. A man uses obscenities freely at the breakfast table in front of young children and complains when they demand that he put a dollar into the family swear jar. A man swears and screams wordlessly several times in the film. A man's backyard is weed-ridden and features a dirty, empty pool and his father asks if the pool is infected with typhoid or hepatitis and says, "Nice little slice of Mumbai you got back here." We hear that his work in a dandruff commercial ended an actor's career and that he was beat up in public school as a child. A husband and his wife argue about their lives in which he is not working and she is a clerical worker who supports him and their two children; she describes how much she's sacrificed for them and he is speechless. An elderly man says that he was forced out of his job as a microbiologist, because he was aging and not keeping up with technology on his own. A rabbi gives a man a folder of literature on Jewish funeral customs. We hear that a male senior citizen is dying of cancer and that he is willing to undergo experimental stem cell treatments.
 A child plays a violent video game and we see and hear animated soldiers firing assault rifles. A man daydreams of days as a child when he and his brother pretended to save the world from monsters and gangsters; he sees himself as a spaceman running through the woods and across deserts, carrying a long sword accompanied by a floating robot and with a tall black-cloaked man lurking around them.
 A dog urinates on a child-size jeep and a weight bench. In a long shot outside a hospital, we see a man lean into a shrubbery planter, make wrenching noises and wipe his mouth (vomiting is implied). A young boy brings a small fart-making machine to his grandfather's room and plays several of the farting sounds for him.


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LANGUAGE 8 - About 32 F-words and its derivatives, 12 sexual references, 11 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (Yentl, idiot, weird, a disappointment, hippies, clown, brainwashed matzo balls, skim milk popsicles, half-Jew, Jane Fonda), stereotypical references to Orthodox Jews, secular Jews, the Amish, India, rabbis, nonbelievers, cranky old men, eccentric geniuses, science fiction enthusiasts, struggling actors, sci-fi superheroes, pre-teen girls, women suffering sexual harassment, men working in offices, 8 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, Bless God, For God's Sakes, Jesus).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man smokes a marijuana cigarette in his car in the parking lot of a Jewish temple, a rabbi tells a man to try not to smoke the cedar seedling he gave him, we see half a dozen marijuana cigarette butts in a man's car ashtray, a man says that there is a weed story on every corner, we hear about a stem cell injection procedure that does not work, an elderly man lies in a hospital bed with IV tubes taped to one hand and an oxygen mask over his face, several prescription bottles are seen on a bedside table along with a jar of floating contact lenses that the man has collected, and we hear that a man takes antidepressants and they don't work. A man and a woman sit at a lifeguard station at night beside two bottles of beer, two men sit at a patio table where three empty beer bottles are seen along with an energy drink and a crumpled beer can, and a man sits at his kitchen table with a bottle of beer. Two paramedics smoke cigarettes outside a hospital.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Marriage, family, fatherhood, growing old, responsibility, mortality, questioning religion, Judaism, the disillusion of dreams, female breadwinners, helping others, forgiveness, reconciliation, growing up.

MESSAGE - People are strong enough to face disappointment and death and to find joy in life.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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