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Wonderful World

3.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is a failed children s folk singer, a career proofreader, a less-than-extraordinary weekend dad, and perhaps the most negative man alive. Floundering in all aspects of his
life, Ben's only comfort comes from regular chess games and friendly debates on game theory with his
Senegalese roommate Ibou (Michael Kenneth Williams). When Ibou is suddenly struck ill, Ben's pessimistic worldview seems unequivocally confirmed. It takes an extended visit from Ibou s sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) for Ben to realize that cynicism may be all a matter of perspective.

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The title is ironic, of course, for according to Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick), the Wonderful World is anything but. For Ben, life is basically "crap." The money mongers rule everything, "the man" is out to get us, "positive thinking" is a cruel joke, hope and human kindness are rumors. And he's got the wounds to prove it: an erstwhile children's musical entertainer, he was dropped by his label because his CD didn't sell. His current proofreading gig is a dead end. His ex-wife is a cold fish whose new man is a jerk. And even though his coworkers mock him ("the anti-everything," one calls him), his ex informs him that his daughter doesn't want to see him because he makes her feel bad, and his upbeat roommate (Michael K. Williams), a Senegalese immigrant, gently chides him ("Maybe you should look at the world as your friend," he says), Ben is resolute in his cynicism and unhappiness. But we know that will change--heck, the movie wouldn't exist otherwise--and that's exactly what happens when the roomie falls seriously ill and his beautiful sister, Khadi (Sanaa Lathan), arrives from Dakar to look after him. Much of what happens thereafter is predictable (shades of The Visitor, with a bit more skin), but not all of it, which is writer-director Joshua Goldin's film's saving grace. Broderick is almost too decent and puppyish to play a misanthrope (he's not exactly Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets), and he doesn't seem entirely comfortable with the role. Still, the fact that you could make a certain amount of this movie with a cookie cutter doesn't undermine it; Wonderful World is no game changer, but it works. --Sam Graham

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Product Details

  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Michael Kenneth Williams, Philip Baker Hall, Sanaa Lathan
  • Directors: Josh Goldin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 2010
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0031REQJA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,260 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wonderful World" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
"The only crime left in the f*****g world is negative thinking," laments Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) who holds the worldview that everything is fixed, yuppies are the root of all evil, and we're all doomed anyway so why bother. A failed children's singer (his sole album long relegated to the dusty cutout bins of history), the divorced Ben now works a dead-end job as a proofreader. When one of his co-workers chastises him for not sharing in the congratulatory excitement surrounding the news that another co-worker (an aspiring actor) has just landed his first television acting gig, he dismisses the scold with a shrug and says "I don't delude myself with hopes and dreams." He's a real piece of work.

Interestingly, however, he does have friends. He participates in a weekly after-hours jam session in the back room of a music store with a small group of pals, and proves to be a decent guitarist; it makes us wonder exactly why he's squandering his talents. As the music store owner surreptitiously observes, "That's a shame, to be good at something no one cares about." His roommate Ibu (Michael K. Williams) a Senegalese immigrant, doesn't let Ben's chronic glumness dampen his perpetually sunny disposition, and considers him to be a good friend regardless. Ben does approach a state approximating enjoyment when he spends time with his precocious 11-year old daughter (Jodelle Ferland); although his negative waves are markedly straining their relationship and becoming a source of concern to Ben's ex-wife (Ally Walker).
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Format: DVD
"Wonderful World" was written and directed by Joshua Goldin, his first directing project. It follows Ben Singer played by Matthew Broderick who is a really big pessimist. Ben had a successful career as a children's folk music singer, but after no one bought his acoustic album, he became jaded and withdrew from the world and spends his days in a boring, safe desk job proofreading papers. His best friend and roommate, Ibu (Michael Kenneth Williams) goes into a diabetic coma and Ben's world changes when Ibu's sister, Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) comes to stay with him while her brother is ill.

The movie feels very obvious in the opening sequences, yes, he's so pessimistic, no one invites him to parties because he's a Debbie Downer. He even says at one point that the two worst inventions were the TV remote and positive thinking. The movie really improves after more challenges are put into Ben's life through the absence of his friend, the introduction of a beautiful woman from Dakar, the diminishing relationship with his daughter, Sandra (Jodelle Ferland), and the loss of his job, and his attempt to sue the city for depraved indifference. Oh and not to mention, hallucinations of "The Man" (Philip Baker Hall) as an obstacle for him to mouth off to when he smokes weed. The simple life of sitting around playing chess is put on hold.

I had a hard time seeing Matthew Broderick who is excellent at oozing a positive attitude do such an about face here. It definitely plays more funny-grouchy than dark and I think that was the director's intentional choice. Everything he does still has a certain charisma, even when he's shutting others out.

Young Jodelle Ferland as his daughter was a great choice.
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Format: DVD
We've all experienced periods in life that get so terrible you just have to laugh; Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is beyond that point. Divorced from a woman who has married a blatant jerk, earning a meager living working as a TV script proofreader, and disconnected from his daughter, Ben is cynical, neurotic and pessimistic. He feels that society is superficial, disconnected and run by a money hungry individual, known as `the man.'

In this clever Indie drama, Ben is challenged to keep a positive perspective despite the negative events that befall him. When his daughter rejects his company because of his negativity, and his Senegalese roommate falls into a Diabetic coma, Ben realizes there are more important things in life than feeling sorry for yourself and bitter with the world. He realizes that pessimism and cynicism is a form of selfishness and that he has an obligation to care and love those who care and love him. When his roommate's sister visits and stays at their apartment he begins to take a more optimistic look at life and to appreciate the positive value relationships bring to life.

A smart and uplifting film, that reminds us of Jean-Paul Sartre's quote that "freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." The film is well paced, and displays a deft balance of humor and drama. The acting is spot on with strong performances by Matthew Broderick, Michael K. Williams, and Sanaa Lathan. Overall, a great film that will leave you with memorable quotes and food for thought after you've finished watching.
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