Review: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013): “We love you, Zach Braff!”

Oz BalloonOz the Great and Powerful suffers from some inconsistencies. The pacing is questionable, and James Franco occasionally confuses Oz with his character on General Hospital. But, all in all, the movie is enjoyable, and a great deal of the credit goes to Zach Braff.

Zach Braff plays Finley, Oz’s talkative, winged-monkey sidekick. Though the movie focuses on the plights of Oz, including Oz’s awkward love quadrangle with Theodora, Evandora, and Glinda, Finley steals the show whenever he appears on screen. Finley’s banter with Oz has enough of the spunk and humor of Scrubs that Oz the Great and Powerful could almost be an extended John Dorian daydream.

Oz Monkey and DollOther characters have their moments, of course. Rachel Weisz is a wonderful Evanora; Michelle Williams inspires as the uplifting Glinda; and Mila Kunis gives a decent performance as Theodora. And there’s the awesome China Girl, voiced by Joey King. Director Sam Raimi also comes across as talented, given the film’s stunning visual effects. Still, even as Franco soared above a beautiful CG world in a bubble, I found myself hoping that Finley would say something again.

For a long time, Scrubs has been my TV comfort food, the show I watch when I need to unwind. It is both upbeat and calming. Funny and inspirational. Witty and occasionally emotional. And, as I watched Oz, a part of me hoped that Finley would blink and J.D. would open his eyes.

Oz Zach BraffTurk: “Dude, that was a long one. Weren’t you supposed to meet Elliot an hour ago? What were you thinking about?”

J.D.: “Bananas.”

I believe that it’s unfair to typecast talented actors and actresses, especially when they’ve proven that they can play other roles. Zach Braff proved his ability to portray emotional nuance when he wrote, directed, and starred in Garden State. But I love Scrubs. And for Scrubs fans everywhere, Finley’s wit and quirkiness offers hints of J.D.-style humor. It was from the mouth of a monkey, but it was still enjoyable. We love you, Zach Braff.

Sam Raimi: Director

Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire: Screenplay

James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff: Stars

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