Synopsis: An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protégé
Hollywood is in a golden era for strong, independent female comediennes. Looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy is Lake Bell.
In A World is set in the largely untapped, but comically rich, arena of movie trailer voice over work. Bell stars as Carol, a struggling voice coach who makes her meager income from helping actresses with limited vocal range overdub their geographically wandering accents. She is also the daughter of voice over King, and raging misogynist, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed). When legendary voice over artist Don LaFontaine, most famous for introducing the movie trailer opening words “In a World…” to the common vernacular, dies it sparks a passive-aggressive scramble to secure the void he’s left, and usher in a new era of trailers using his famous preamble. With an autobiography and lifetime achievement award on the horizon Sam Sotto considers himself a shoe-in. His biggest rival being young hotshot, and Playboy, Gustav Warner (a wonderfully sleazy Ken Marino). All the while discounting the notion of a woman, not least Carol, ever seriously challenging them in a Hollywood sub-industry so tightly controlled by men.
Although well known on the comedy circuit, and with a number of supporting credits in mainstream fare like No Strings Attached and several TV shows, In A World is a statement of intent from Bell that her sarcastic, dry and subtle brand of humour could very well make her a star. Not content with just taking a lead role in In A World, she also wrote it and took it on as her directorial debut, one that is remarkably assured and suggests a blossoming talent has emerged for 2014 and beyond.
She also wisely surrounded herself with a strong cast of established comedians and comediennes (Dmitri Martin, Nick Offerman, Rob Corddy, Tig Notaro, Michaela Watkins) all of whom who share the burden of keeping the laughs flowing, with just the right amount of sentiment and drama. Most notably a well handled sub-narrative involving the breakdown of her sister’s marriage. And while the last 15 minutes feel like Bell running out of steam, it still leaves a suitably bitter-sweet taste in the mouth when the credits roll.
Conclusion: A wonderfully self assured debut from Bell who also provides heart and soul to a screwball comedy that filmbuffs will find particularly entertaining.
Cast: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Ken Marino, Dmitri Martin, Nick Offerman, Rob Corddy, Tig Notaro, Michaela Watkins