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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DVD Review: Wonderful World

Wonderful World - A Mongrel Media Release


DVD Release Date: March 16th, 2010

Rated 14A

Running time: 95 minutes

Joshua Goldin (dir.)

Joshua Goldin (writer)

Craig Richey (music)

Matthew Broderick as Ben Singer

Sanaa Lathan as Khadi

Michael Kenneth Williams as Ibu

Philip Baker Hall as The Man

Our reviews below:


Wonderful World Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is a close-minded cynic. But then again, his life isn’t exactly exciting. He lives in a small apartment with his roommate, Ibu (Michael Kenneth Williams), he only sees his daughter on weekends, and his job security may not be as secure as he thought. Then the unthinkable happens. Ibu ends up in a diabetic coma. The chemistry between Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan is undeniable and believable, and the scenes with Ibu are very nice.

The film draws obvious comparisons to such great films as The Visitor and Goodbye Solo. Though it is not in the same league as those great films, it is still worth seeing. Despite a few moments that don’t quite gel with the rest of the movie, overall Wonderful World is a good film, with a few moments of near-greatness. If the film had ended a few scenes earlier, though, with a scene vaguely reminiscent of Magnolia, then perhaps it would have had more of a profound, lasting effect.

The DVD includes a couple of featurettes on the characters and making-of the movie.


Wonderful World DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of four)

Wonderful World tells the story of Ben, a cynical man who seems to have lost the ability to see the beauty in the world around him. He used to play music, but has all but abandoned this, and being divorced, barely sees his 11 year old daughter who finds some of his remarks too depressing. His roommate, Ibu, from Senegal is the opposite of him in many ways though, always trying to get him to see the lighter side of things. But when Ibu becomes sick, Ben has to figure some things out for himself.

Wonderful World is a good movie that's worth a rental, but there were parts of it that kept it from becoming something more. There is a scene near the end, that could have been the last scene in the film, leaving a more emotional effect, but then the film continues on for a good five minutes more. That scene was one of my favourite scenes in the film, and if you want to know what scene I mean (perhaps after seeing the film), you can get a clue by looking up the word 'gleb' in this book.


Wonderful World DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Wonderful World is a sweet, low key film about friendship. Ben, (believably played by Matthew Broderick), is a depressed man, who lives with his Senegalese roommate, Ibu. Ben, who used to be a children’s folk singer, is now a cynical, divorced individual who only sees his daughter on weekends. Ibu is Ben’s only friend, who tries to help Ben see a positive view of the world. But when Ben finds Ibu in a diabetic coma, Ibu’s sister, Khadi, comes over from Senegal to take care of both of them. Ben begins to fall in love with Khadi. She brings Ben to a new perspective on what is really important in life.

While the DVD package describes Wonderful World as a dark comedy, it is more of a drama along the lines of Goodbye Solo or The Visitor. With good acting, an interesting, quiet score, and a good storyline, Wonderful World is worth checking out.


Wonderful World DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Ben’s (Matthew Broderick) life would be described as anything but wonderful. His job is uninspiring, his relationship with his daughter is strained, he is a weekends-only Dad, he lives in a small place with a Senegalese roommate, Ibu, and his parking lot neighbour is a jerk. Ben is not a happy guy.

When Ibu (Michael Kenneth Williams) has a medical emergency, Ibu’s sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) arrives to lend a hand. The unexpected turn of events turn out to be a turning point for Ben. Maybe Ben does’t have to remain pessimistic.

Wonderful World is optimistically low-key. Matthew Broderick is completely believable as the pessimistic, stick it to the man, Ben. The rest of the performances by the other actors are also believable and heartwarming. The music score by Craig Richey is really nice and matches the movie’s mood nicely.

I enjoyed Wonderful World. It has a nice even pace and comes to a nicely, believable conclusion without being sentimental. Wonderful World is worth checking out.


Wonderful World DVD Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is going through a cynical and depressed midlife, seen through a haze of pot smoke in a flat shared with Senegalese immigrant Ibu (Michael K. Williams), an entry level proofreading job he has held for eight years, and weekend visits to his preteen daughter. Having been stung once, he doesn’t see a way out without giving in to “The Man” (personified by actor Philip Baker Hall, appearing to him several times like a ghost). When Ibu is hospitalized in a diabetic coma, his very attractive sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) comes to help out, sharing the flat with predicable and not so predictable consequences. Despite setbacks, the film ends on a hopeful note once Ben realizes what is really important.

Not as good as The Visitor and Goodbye Solo, Wonderful World deals like those films with an uptight American enriched by contact with a third world roommate. Unlike their previous counterparts, the immigrants here are played by American born actors. Though the film is somewhat brooding and confused at times, Matthew Broderick has enough residual charm to carry us through it.


Consensus: Wonderful World is a fine film, though there are a few scenes that could have been cut. Although it is not in the same league as The Visitor or Goodbye Solo, it is still a well-acted, worth checking out drama. *** (Out of 4)

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