Netflix Review - "Wonderful World"

Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is a cynical, depressed copywriter who used to be a famous children's musician. He hates his job and most of the people in his life, save for his daughter, Sandra (Jodelle Ferland), and his roommate, Ibu (Michael K. Williams), whom he plays chess with. When Ibu falls into a diabetic coma, his sister, Khadi (Sanaa Lathan), comes from Senegal and ends up crashing with Ben. As the world around him begins to grow darker, Ben finds himself reawakening and rediscovering his life and finds that the world isn't quite as bad as he thought it was.

I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of "Wonderful World." A lot of these "the world sucks but our hero prevails" indie movies wallow in despair, making them almost unwatchable. "Wonderful" more than touches on the harsh parts of life but paints with a broad brush rather than a fine point, which I personally appreciated. It's a well-told story and writer-director Joshua Golden keeps the movie moving without drowning me in the sorrow. That's not to say this is an easy movie to watch. It's 70 percent sadness and that makes for a tough viewing but one that I found worthwhile. Broderick works hard to craft a sympathetic curmudgeon, a different role than his usual cheery if understated hero. The supporting cast compliments him well though Williams, one of the very best character actors the business has to offer, was severely underutilized. "Wonderful World" is far from a great movie; it's a bit bumpy and at times the emotion feels forced. Still, it's a strong-enough indie offering and it's always good to see Broderick on the screen.

Grade: B