Matt Mulhern stars as an out of work sit-com actor visiting his empty childhood home on the Jersey shore while struggling to make sense of the loss of his father, his past, and, for one funny and heartbreaking week, himself.
Ben is a failed children's folk singer and less-than-extraordinary weekend dad. Deeply cynical, Ben's sole pleasure in life is derived from chess games with his Senegalese roommate Ibou. When Ibou is suddenly struck ill and an insensitive municipal employee exacerbates the emergency situation, Ben's pessimistic world view seems unequivocally confirmed. But when Ibou's sister Khadi takes his place in their apartment, what starts as an awkward living arrangement becomes something more, and Ben finds that cynicism may be all a matter of perspective. Written by
At one point in the film, Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan are talking about the impossibility of their relationship. Lathan's character says that they are like a hippo and a lion trying to mate. Broderick asks 'who's the hippo. Broderick voiced Simba in the "Lion King" franchise. See more »
The daughter is hiding from him. He is parked outside his old home. When the daughter looks out her window she sees him in the car, with a baseball hat on. Close-ups of him show him as hatless. See more »
Has anyone ever told you that maybe you are a bit too negative Ben?
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While many may place this little film in the same category as the critically acclaimed THE VISITOR from last year (depressed man finds redemption in his association with foreigners), which is not necessarily a bad place to be. Joshua Goldin has written and directed a low budget Indie film that opts for a story about human emotions rather than CGI effects or vampire stories and the result is a moving experience.
Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is a depressed pessimist: his is divorced, sees his only daughter Sandra (Jodelle Ferland) weekly but transfers his state of mind that the world is a weary place to live with her. He works as a proofreader and shares the rent for his tiny apartment with a Senegalese man, Ibu (Michael K. Williams), with whom he passes the evenings playing chess. Ibu suffers from diabetes but despite his need for daily injections of insulin manages to bring what little light there is into Ben's world. At one point Ibu lapses into diabetic coma and must be hospitalized and Ben's genuine concern for his friend causes him to be absent form his work - and the subsequent loss of his eight year long boring stint as a proofreader. Ben contacts Ibu's sister Khadi (Sanaa Latham) in Senegal and she travels to be with her brother - and to, by need, live in Ben's apartment. Khadi is kind and eventually finds her way into Ben's frozen heart. Khadi suggests that the only way for her to remain in America is to obtain a green card - which suggests that the two be married. Ben's negative outlook on the world almost destroys one of the few warm relationships he has. Khadi returns to Senegal when Ibu dies and the transformation in real feelings Ben discovers begins a new look at the 'glass half empty' philosophy.
Matthew Broderick is exceptionally fine in this role and Williams, Latham, and Ferland contribute excellent support. Joshua Goldin found it necessary to insert a God-like character (Philip Baker Hall) who is seen only by Ben and this seems an unnecessary trick that isn't really needed to make this story flow. But that is a small flaw in an otherwise very touching movie.
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