*The following World’s Best review is spoiler-free and was made possible by advanced screeners provided to Agents of Fandom by Disney for review purposes*
Projects like Netflix’s Never Have I Ever and Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel, demonstrate the ever-so-growing South Asian-led stories in Hollywood. The latest Disney+ film, World’s Best from actor-singer Utkarsh Ambudkar, best known for Ryan Reynolds’ film Free Guy, adds to that growing list of stories.
World’s Best tells the story of Prem Patel (Manny Magnus), a smart 12-year-old math prodigy who, amidst the struggles of his adolescence, discovers that his late father, Suresh (played by Ambudkar) was a hip-hop emcee. He embarks on a journey to become a hip-hop superstar, hoping that it leads to him discovering who he is and understanding where he comes from. As much as this is a film for families, World’s Best offers a connected story to those trying to understand themselves and their loved ones in this big world.
World’s Best review: a touching father-son story
A highlight of World’s Best is the execution to tell a story through imagination. Diving into Prem’s thought process gives audiences an immersive view of a child’s creative mind. We view Prem’s imagination because it is his way of communicating with his late father.
World’s Best is a touching, impactful story because of its ability to connect to families who have lost a loved one. The desire to reflect on those close to us that have passed is a way for any who want to understand themselves for the sake of moving forward in their life. Because Prem is 12, his memory of his late father is limited. This leads him to use his imagination to daydream his father’s presence in the room as a way to discover if he’s more than a math genius and has his father’s hip-hop history is in his DNA.
Prem has a big, hyperactive imagination, and he uses it to escape the real world he lives in. He wants his father present to help him understand who he is apart from the hardships of his adolescence. He imagines this ideal life to feel connected to his father but understands that this ideal life is not always perfect. Yet, it is precisely those imperfections that add to its beauty.
Manny Magnus’ performance as Prem Patel, whose youthful energy sparkles throughout, is what keeps this film going from beginning to end. The father-son relationship between Magnus’ Prem and Ambudkar’s Suresh is the most moving, and they perform this special connection that bonds parents with their children.
‘World’s Best‘ is musical heavy
With a runtime of one hour and forty minutes, World’s Best presents a well-crafted narrative. However, the film leans heavily toward musical elements which is evident through the inclusion of full-fledged music videos. This, regrettably, may divert viewers’ attention from the central storyline.
Although it works in some scenes, I wish the story maintained its momentum instead of dropping another musical number out of the blue. It’s worth noting that younger audiences might find these musical moments particularly enjoyable, but they only work to develop the father-son relationship—in addition to allowing Prem to discover his passion for hip-hop music as a math prodigy.
The film’s score carries hints of South Asian music and as a member of the South Asian community, it made me smile. The nod to Bollywood movies and 2000s hip-hop music videos is evident in the countless musical numbers this film offers, making it nostalgic to watch.
“The World’s Best never rest”
Overall, World’s Best is a heartfelt musical film for families who want to feel connected and understand themselves and their loved ones. By weaving hip-hop music and vivid imagination into its narrative, the film explores themes of pursuing what deeply resonates with one’s identity and the importance of perseverance—or as the film says it, “the world’s best never rest.”
Summer has arrived, and most children are out for their summer break. That means it’s time for families to start watching wholesome movies together! If you’re looking for a musically-driven film with heart, you’ll enjoy World’s Best.
World’s Best streams exclusively on Disney+ on June 23. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest movie news and reviews.
'World's Best' Review'World's Best' Review
- Touching, heartfelt story
- A South Asian-led cast
- The musical numbers may be overwhelming
- Made for a younger audience
- Humour is riddled with Gen Z slang