Here’s the good news: Michael K. Williams, who played Omar on The Wire, is in Wonderful World, the debut film by writer-director Joshua Goldin. The bad news? He spends most of the movie in a diabetic coma. So we’re pretty much stuck with Matthew Broderick’s Ben, a former children’s musician turned sullen, whiny, grumpy, and dumpy copy editor. Self-righteously rejecting anything resembling ambition—“at least I don’t delude myself with hopes and dreams,” he scoffs—Ben shares a small apartment with Ibou (Williams), a salt-of-the-earth Senegalese immigrant who pontificates about game theory over evening chess matches. Though it’s hard to believe any woman would have married him in the first place, Ben is once divorced and has a confused, vaguely sad adolescent daughter (Jodelle Ferland) who doesn’t much appreciate his company—and why would she? He barely shows any interest in her (when she confesses that she thinks she might be a lesbian—a plot point Goldin promptly drops—Ben basically changes the subject). Fortunately for her, she mostly avoids spending time with him; if only we were so lucky. Goldin’s built his film around an unremittingly unlikable protagonist, and though he acquits himself with a certain degree of aplomb behind the camera, the character’s relentless cynicism cripples the movie.
Read Chris Wisniewski’s review of Wonderful World.