Tags

, , , , , , , ,

we are fun and will bring joy to your miserable life because we see the good in you despite your cynical nature.

R

Matthew Broderick, Sanaa Lathan, Michael K. Williams, Jodelle Ferland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Khadi: Remember that slap!  It’s the last time we touch…

Ben Singer (Broderick) is a musician who used to write happy songs for kids, but he’s become disillusioned with the world.  His cynicism has cost him his marriage and is driving him and his daughter, Sandra (Ferland), apart.  When Ben’s roommate, Ibu (Williams), goes into a coma, Ibu’s sister, Khadi (Lathan), comes to the U.S. from Senegal to be near him.

There are some positives and negatives about this movie, but none of them are really extreme in either direction.  Which means that nothing about this movie is particularly interesting, outside of a few good performances.  Broderick is alright, Williams is good in his limited scenes, Ferland is good as the daughter, and Lathan probably shines brightest as Khadi.  Despite the likable performances, the story and themes were just so routine that I could never really get into it.

Also, this is the directorial debut for Joshua Goldin, and I thought it showed.  The movie had a distinct TV movie feel to it, including establishing shots of buildings straight out of a TV sitcom.  It just felt unprofessional and uncreative at times.

As for the story, I did like that Ben didn’t go through huge, miraculous changes in personality.  Instead, it’s more of a gradual scraping away of his outer walls to reveal some of his old personality that has been buried.  I just wish it had been directed in a more interesting way.  It just tends to drag along from one predictable turn to the next, with drama that seems forced and unbelievable.

There are some nice moments between Ben and Khadi, and between Ben and his daughter, but nothing that I couldn’t see coming from a mile off.  Thankfully it doesn’t all get wrapped up with a pretty bow on top in the end.  Though, I wish it had been wrapped up with a more creative bow…

Park your car legally.  A life could depend on it.

10 – 1.8 for a lackluster directing style – 2.3 for a routine, predictable story + .1 for some good performances = 6.0