Braff is tapped in to how young people consume, if not how they think. Sure, Garden State and The Last Kiss resemble overlong iPod ads with less adventuresome music choices. But the soundtracks that Braff compiled for both films have been remarkably successful—the Garden State CD sold more than a million copies, and The Last Kiss is currently No. 38 on Amazon. It makes sense that Braff is so popular on MySpace, a site that exists so people can list what they like—friends, celebrities, music, movies. Braff is, essentially, an aggregator. His soundtracks are lists of his favorite songs. Garden State was a list of funny anecdotes and off-kilter objects rather than a cohesive story. He might not have anything original to say, but Braff does offer this insight on our generation: We are inclined to mistake stuff for substance.
I think the problem is not that Braff isn't talented-he is, but slightly moreso as an actor than a director, and much moreso as both those things than as a writer. But he's been given huzzahs quite out of proportion to his accomplishments--Garden State was good, but it wasn't that good.
It was a promising first film that made me curious to see what the man behind it would do next, and whether he would smooth out some of the rough edges I saw. I guess we won't know until we see another film that he directs and writes whether he belives his own bullshit.
Hat tip to Feministe.