Review: In A World...
PLOT: Carol (Lake Bell) is a vocal coach who just happens to be the daughter of a legendary voice-over artist (Fred Melamed). When the decision is made to resurrect the late Don Lafontaine’s “In A World…” trademark, the race is on as to who will follow in his footsteps. Despite competition from her father, and a new, narcissistic voice-over king (Ken Marino) Carol finds herself smack-dab in the middle of the race to become the new go-to guy (or girl) for trailers.
REVIEW: Lake Bell is an actress that always struck me as funny (as well as beautiful) but never really got the right kind of showcase. She’s been in a few stinkers like OVER HER DEAD BODY (although obviously no one held a grudge as Eva Longoria shows up in this playing herself), but her best stuff has mostly been on the small screen in shows like HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA, and CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL.
After having directed a couple of shorts and a some episodes of CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, Bell’s written and directed herself one heck of a strong star vehicle with IN A WORLD…, and her best role to date. Set amongst the world or trailer voice-over artists (which, if this film is to be believed is particularly cutthroat and vicious), Bell’s premise is great and will definitely strike a chord for all of us film fans who always wonder where they find all those great guys to voice trailers.
Notice I didn’t say women. Bell portrays the voice-over trailer industry as pretty sexist, but when was the last time you heard a big trailer narrated by a woman? I can’t think of one, which is a bit of a sad surprise, as there are plenty of great female voices out there that could be just as good (if not better) than the guys they have narrating them now, even if voiceover trailers seem to be on the decline. Bell’s film opens with a great vintage doc about Don Lafontaine, with clips of Marino and Melamed’s characters spliced in to give it continuity with the film. Bell’s got a great set of pipes and makes for a really believable vocal coach, demonstrating an unusual knack for imitating regional accents. Most importantly, she sounds great doing a trailer, and makes her character’s underdog story work.
Bell’s also surrounded herself with a heck of a supporting cast, with Melamed (who’s done a lot of voice-over work himself) stealing every scene as her egotistical father (Bell also seems to have a perverse fascination showing the hirsute and heavy Melamed naked- which she does over and over). A lot of Bell’s frequent co-stars show up, with Demetri Martin as her love interest, a sound guy who helps her land gigs. The great Nick Offerman plays his assistant, and is genius as always. Rob Corddry has a more straight-laced role than usual as Bell’s brother-in-law, who’s struggling with a wife (Michaela Watkins) who may or may not be cheating on him. Corddry rarely gets to play parts so down-to-earth, and he’s perfect in the part (it feels like the type of thing he should play more often).
IN A WORLD… was a big crowd-pleaser at Sundance, but sadly I wasn’t able to catch it. I wish I had though, as it would have been among the better films I saw there. It’s well-worth checking out, and a must if you like Bell’s work on CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. It’s the rare comedy that manages to be funny without being goofy and affecting without being maudlin. I also think Bell should get to work voicing trailers NOW.
|Extra Tidbit:||IN A WORLD... opens in limited release in the U.S today, and expands through Canada the 16th.|