Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register Now to see X-MEN First Class!
Empire Blogs
Empire States

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Will Zach Braff's New Play Change Your Life?

Posted on Thursday March 1, 2012, 09:28 by Ali Plumb in Empire States
Will Zach Braff's New Play Change Your Life?

If you’re film fan looking for wildly entertaining theatre in London over the next couple of months, you’re thoroughly spoiled for choice. At the Gielgud Theatre, there’s Graham Linehan’s acclaimed adaptation of Ealing classic The Ladykillers, while down at the Old Vic, comic farce-sterpiece Noises Off has proved so popular that it’s transferring to the Novello Theatre on March 24.

If neither of those appeal, there’s always The 39 Steps, Criterion Theatre’s fantastically funny five-year-old four-man farce. Basically, it's effing good.

And if you’re looking for something amusing but almost entirely unrelated to film, you could see One Man, Two Guvnors, the National Theatre’s modernised version of The Servant of Two Masters at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Everyone’s given it five stars. Pretty much, anyway.

Looking to sidle in on their comedy turf, Zach Braff’s All New People is now playing at the Duke of York's Theatre – and though it’s enjoyable, it’s not in the same league as Noises Off and co.

What it has going for it is its excellent cast – Zach Braff plays the mopey lead, Charlie, Torchwood’s Eve Myles a nervous British estate agent, the RSC’s Paul Hilton a drug-dealing fireman and 4.3.2.1’s Susannah Fielding a escort girl – all of whom end up in a Long Beach holiday home one winter’s night.

This being written by Braff, there are plenty of enjoyable comic touches, oddball non-sequiturs and silly similes – "love is like trying to build a house of cards on the back of a squirrel" – that’ll keep Scrubs fans content as the plot meanders along.

But despite an occasionally funny moment and the cast’s impressive acting talent, All New People feels more Last Kiss than Garden State.

It's partly because of the morbid storyline – it begins with Eve Myles walking in on Braff’s Charlie attempting to hang himself on an extension cord – and partly because of a messy script. Forgoing exposition, characters’ backgrounds are revealed with a drop-down cinema screen and a brief video projection; the real reason behind Charlie’s suicidal tendencies is skirted around for too long before anything is revealed, and there’s a general air of something that's not quite as funny as it’d like to be.

Love, hope, happiness and the meaning of life are all discussed by the characters as if they are ponderous emos in a sixth-form common room, swallowing up the jokes with a touch too much sadface.

Then again, if your copy of Garden State is regularly in and out of its DVD case, and Zach Braff’s brand of introspective goofery hasn’t lost its shine for you yet, there’s plenty to enjoy, especially in the on-stage charm of Zach himself.

In other words, a mixed bag. Part of me wants the cast – possibly even with these characters – to act in another, more confident, funnier play, stripped of the stilting high-schooler gloom and introspective waffle. Another just wants to see Braff in bigger role in a more established play. Noises Off, for instance.

Still, if you can't make it down to London town to make up your own mind on this one, there's always the Garden State Blu-ray - now with high-resolution Natalie Portman.

Login or register to comment.

Comments

1 flame23
Posted on Thursday March 1, 2012, 10:33
I saw this when it was in Glasgow. Thought it was definitely very watchable, although I do sympathize with some of the criticism here - not quite enough jokes to keep it skipping along.

2 gambit21
Posted on Thursday March 1, 2012, 13:38
I also saw this in Glasgow - generally agree with the criticisms. Funny bits were funny but fairly infrequent, especially in the second half. Despite the comments about the cast I thought that Braff was the weakest actor in it, playing the weakest character. Not that he was terrible just the weakest.

3 Masked Dave
Posted on Thursday March 1, 2012, 15:07
I saw it in Manchester and I agree, it's all right but not as funny as it needs to be.

And the "reveal" at the end with Eve Myles character just seemed terribly forced and unnecessary.

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (432)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (56)

Words From The Wise (33)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
By Helen O'Hara

Are iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?
By Ben Kirby

Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
By Helen O'Hara

My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf
By James White

Empire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego
By Ally Wybrew

The Case For The Wolf Of Wall Street, Surprisingly Feminist Film
By Helen O'Hara

The Movie Drinking Games Too Dangerous To Attempt
By Helen O'Hara

Screen To Stage: From Here To Eternity
By Helen O'Hara

There's No Pixar Film In 2014. Here Are 7 Steps To Help You Survive The Wait
By Helen O'Hara

‘Is Jackie Chan Dead?’ And Other Amazing Film Questions From Google’s Auto-Suggest Function
By Ali Plumb


RECENT COMMENTS

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"what..??!! THIS is news to me..all i've been hearing bout this movie's NOTHING but terrific...  Avengers12
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Chris Evans and the entire fucking film is boring, and THAT's the problem, not the character."  Jonny24
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Because people are idiots? ;) Earnestness, honesty and a hopeful attitude are jus"  spideed2
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Captain America is not boring. Steve Rogers is boring. It's nearly impossible to "  doug64
Read comment

Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
"Nice to see this review pop up - I was wondering if you'd been to see it, Helen... I agree with most"  gumphd
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"It's not that the film version of Captain America is uncool, it's the comic book character as resurr"  dansator
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"I meant to say "I don't have a problem with Cap being old fashioned, which some folks think is "  coyoteone
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"I don't have a problem with Cap being old fashioned and boring, and frankly, I'm sick of this trend "  coyoteone
Read comment

Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
"Thanks for writing about this - I was thinking about going to see it but maybe not now. I remember t"  Mpyrereader
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Just back from seeing The Winter Solider and for me it's the best of the Marvel films so far. The se"  LustForLeith
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Movies’ Most Quotable Lines
566 comments

'It's Just A Bit Of Fun': Why Defensive Fans Are Bad News For Movies
361 comments

Competitive Geek Baiting: Or, How To Start A Fanboy Fight
338 comments

The Avatar Backlash: Evaluatin' The Hater-atin'
303 comments

The Complete List Of Tired Movie Cliches
286 comments

Your Favourite Animated Film
217 comments

Note To Hollywood: How To Get People To Switch To Blu-Ray
192 comments

Food For Thought
132 comments

The Ten Moviegoing Commandments
127 comments

Just The Facts, Ma’am
127 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (295)
Helen O'Hara (166)
James Dyer (85)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (54)
James White (28)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

The 10 Most Exciting Movies At Cannes 2014
Empire's pick of the Croisette's finest

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?
A bluffer’s guide to the planned spin-off from the Amazing Spider-films

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)