Andrew "Large" Largeman (Zach Braff of TV's SCRUBS) is returning home to New Jersey for the first time in nine years to attend his mother's funeral. A struggling actor in Los Angeles, he's been living under clouds of medication prescribed by his psychiatrist father (Ian Holm). After drifting through the funeral with the same emotional numbness he's felt for years, he reconnects with old friends Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), a gravedigger, and Albert (Denis O'Hare), a millionaire who invented noiseless Velcro. In a doctor's office, he meets ebullient Sam (Natalie Portman), an epileptic whose lust for life inspires Andrew to feel things that his medication long denied him. Over four days, he develops feelings for Sam he didn't know he was capable of, and faces up to the resentment his father holds toward him about an accident that happened long ago.
Writer, director, and star Zach Braff makes his debut feature with this off-kilter, unusually smart, self-assured coming-of-age film. GARDEN STATE has a knack for sharp-edged humor, character quirks, and finding lovely imagery within the mundanity of the suburbs. These things combined are abundant evidence to indicate that Braff's filmmaking future is filled with limitless promise.