Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Matthew Broderick, Sanaa Lathan, Michael K. Williams, Jodelle Ferland, Philip Baker Hall, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Patrick Carney, Ally Walker, Zacharias Foppe, Christy Reese, Cristen Barnes, Mia Ford, Paul T. Taylor, James Burton, John Hambrick
Written by: Josh Goldin
Directed by: Josh Goldin
MPAA Rating: R for language, some drug use and sexual content
Running Time: 89
Date: 06/05/2009
IMDB

Wonderful World (2010)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cynic Clinic

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Matthew Broderick stars as a depressed, cynical, middle-aged white guy who -- as in Goodbye Solo and The Visitor and many other films -- finds a new lease on life due to the indefatigable life force of black people.

Ben Singer (Broderick) hates his life and his job. He seems to have given up on a promising music career. He's divorced, and his outings with his daughter are covered with black clouds of dark warnings about the inevitable disappointments of life. But for some reason he enjoys the company of his roommate Ibu (Michael K. Williams), who hails from Senegal. Unfortunately, Ibu is diabetic and, due to the callous, selfish nature of his fellow white men, Ben fails to get him to the hospital before a diabetic coma sets in. This brings Ibu's beautiful sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) for a visit, and against all odds, she strikes up a passionate fling with Ben.

There are some good, charming performances and sequences, but watching this dud is a reminder as to why Goodbye Solo and The Visitor worked as well as they did. Those movies were constructed around characters and interactions and behavior, and this one is structured around a cutesy collection of "indie movie" setups and payoffs. If someone mentions fish falling from the sky in the first act, you can bet that, at some point in the final act, someone else will witness fish falling from the sky. Philip Baker Hall is wasted in his role as "The Man," a hallucination that represents all of Ben's gripes against the world. Josh Goldin makes his directorial debut here; apparently his last credit was as a screenwriter on another Matthew Broderick film, Out on a Limb (1992).

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