Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In this movie ‘Wonderful World’ Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) used to be one of the kings of children’s entertainment, going on stage with his colorful guitar and singing happy, happy songs. That part of Ben’s life took place way before this movie started because the Ben Singer that we get to know is a man I wouldn’t put in front of the worlds worst kids. Nobody deserves that. The Ben Singer that we get to know, for lack of a better word, is a dick. Some might argue that Ben isn’t a dick at all but is instead a stark realist, however Ben takes his version of realism to the level that qualifies him as a dick as far as I’m concerned.

Ben is divorced from his wife Eliza (Ally Walker) but the couple does have a young tween-aged daughter Sandra (Jodelle Ferland) who has found her weekend visits with her old man too depressing to deal with and would much rather spend time alone in her bedroom than listen to the man drone on about the inequities of life. I hate to get sidetracked but I just looked up Jodelle Ferland while scribbling these little comments and the child has like more acting credits than anybody else in the movie and she’s only thirteen. Is this legal? Don’t they have child labor laws about this kind of thing? Further I had just finished revisiting the movie Universal Soldier and was wondering where in the hell Van Damme’s co-star in that movie Ally Walker has been. Well… here she is! Anyway, Ben has a crap job as a proof reader and spends his spare time on this job crapping on his co-workers hopes and dreams. Ben does have a good friend in Ibu (Michael K. Williams), his roommate with whom he plays chess and smokes weed but even this turns to crap when Ibu, a diabetic, goes into an insulin induced coma.

While it does suck complete and total ass to have your best friend fall into a coma, this unfortunate event brings Ibu’s sister Khadi from Dakar into town, played by Sanaa Lathan, who Ben somehow gets into a hot sexual affair with. Talk about turning a frown upside down. Some other stuff is going in Ben’s life such as him suing the city for being overall assholes, job issues and occasional conversations on the state of things with The Man (Phillip Baker Hall). But things are looking a little better for Ben as his daughter has decided to give her old man one more try and he is in a relationship with a woman who does appear to be a few notches above his pay grade.

But as we have observed, Ben is dick. And if you know dicks like we know dicks, being a dick is a hard disease to cure yourself from, no matter how hard you try. The only thing working in Ben’s favor is that this is a movie and movies tend to work themselves out. In real life dicks tend to die as dicks.

It’s kind of cool because I got the opportunity to watch this theatrical film as part of the HDNET monthly sneak preview which is a great channel to have. Written and directed by Joshua Golden ‘Wonderful World’ is an interesting little film and a fairly depressing little film. Matthew Broderick’s character of Ben Singer is about as unpleasant and as defeatist a character that you are going to encounter in a movie and as a testament to the real way that Broderick portrays this character, Ben Singer really doesn’t really improve ‘all that much’ in this movie. A little bit, but not much. The scenes that worked the best in this film, at least for me, were the conversations that Ben Singer was having with The Man which I felt were smartly written and very clever and I think the movie would’ve been all the more entertaining if there were more than the couple of scenes between the two in the movie. Where the movie doesn’t seem to work so well, unfortunately… considering it is probably the most important part of the movie, is the love story between the Broderick and Lathan characters. It didn’t help that Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan have less than zero chemistry together, it didn’t help that Sanaa was looking really good in this movie and Matthew looked worse in this movie than he looked in the movie of his I last saw ‘Finding Amanda’, and I didn’t think that was possible considering he played a strung out junkie in that movie. But those cosmetic issues aside, the real question was what could the character of Khadi possibly have seen in the character of Ben to give this defeatist clown some quality lovin’? There’s nothing, at least as far as I could see, that’s remotely attractive or appealing about the character of Ben Singer. As the movie initially played out it seems that she was doing this out of some kind of obligation, then we’re asked to believe that the pair are in love in some kind of way with the character of Khadi lamenting their somewhat star-crossed relationship was just a ‘fantasy’. A fantasy for whom? Khadi needs better fantasies if that’s the best that she muster up.

Overall I thought that ‘Wonderful World’ was a pretty decent movie that was well acted and had some smart dialog but as a love story… that didn’t work so well for me. And that was a pretty big chunk of the movie. Oh well, whaddayagonnado?

Real Time Web