Unfortunately Wonderful World feels too much like a tired film to represent the revival at the end. It is made memorable only by the concept of cynicism and its witty remarks. Josh Goldin’s Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) has a thin layer of charm, however his actual cynicism begins to border on pathological at points.
Ben Singer is a divorced, failed folk singer now working a 9-5 “temp” job, he really only has Ibu, his roommate/friend, and Sandra, his daughter, to give his misery company. When it seems like life has taken a turn for the worst with the hospitalization of Ibu, it turns out it is exactly what Ben needed to change his perspective on life.
Ben’s relationship with his daughter turns into the crux of the film and proves to be the best part of it. Sandra, played by Jesse Tyler Fergusen, breathes wonder into every scene. It is through her and Ben’s relationship that Goldin shines as a director. From the set of cold moments at the start of the film through the closing moments the father-daughter relationship and the carefulness of the scenes outline a stronger composition than the rest of the film.
The core of Goldin’s film is wonderful, but unfortunately the film feels just as jaded as Ben’s point of view. Outside the father-daughter relationship, nothing seems fresh or renewed in any way. Everything is a sad reflection of the failed man at the start of the film, rather than the hopeful man at the end.
The Bottom Line is that this film just does not hit the mark, and as Josh Goldin summarized in his own film, “You understand Bottom Line you understand America.”