An aimless young man comes home, reconnects with old friends and a distant dad, and is charmed by a quirky-cute Natatlie Portman who’s wise beyond her years. That was the plot of 1996’s Beautiful Girls, and writer-director Zach Braff (Scrubs) subconsciously recycles the best ideas of that film to create a nonetheless refreshing tale of a twentysomething’s awakening. While Garden State may not be The Graduate of its era exactly, its curious detail — Trekkie knights, amorous seeing-eye dogs — generous cast (including a brilliant Peter Sarsgaard), and eclectic soundtrack hit all the right notes.
EXTRAS Many of the deleted scenes are just extended versions of shots from the movie, but the bloopers are good for a quick chuckle. In Braff and Portman’s commentary, she teases him about his Jersey accent, they confess they made a deal restricting tongue kissing, and Braff admits that, alas, silent Velcro does not exist.