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In a World...

2013 | 93 min | R | 2.39:1

In a World...


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1 user review

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Theatrical release date

 09 August, 2013
 12 September, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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In a World...


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In a World... Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, August 15, 2013

Although writer/director Lake Bell aims to construct a romantic comedy with her helming debut, “In a World,” the effort almost registers as a tribute film to the late voiceover artist, Don LaFontaine. One of the most famous voices in the history of the vocation, LaFontaine was turned into a pop culture player when his use of the titular phrase in movie trailers became the ubiquitous opener for any production needing that extra introductory punch. Bell aims to celebrate the industry and its players with the picture, which is always most confident inspecting the neuroses and power plays of the participants. The ooey-gooey material just doesn’t share the same personality.

Attempting to break into the voiceover industry, Carol (Lake Bell) is burdened with the fact that she’s the daughter of voice legend Sam (Fred Melamed), complicating her job hunt. Ejected from her childhood home so Sam can spend quality time with younger wife Jamie (Alexandra Holden), Carol moves in with sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and her husband Moe (Rob Corddry), while scoring gigs with help from engineer Louis (Demetri Martin), who’s fostering a crush on the excited employee. Proving her worth as one of the few females in the business, Carol lands a huge chance at major exposure when her voice is one of three selected to narrate the trailer for the upcoming blockbuster, “The Amazon Games,” threatening Sam’s reputation and the livelihood of voice king Gustav (Ken Marino), who instigates a fling with Carol without even knowing she’s his top competition.

What defines “In a World” is its subject matter, as few pictures have explored the voiceover community with any real detail. Not that the feature is any sort of documentary, but it has a certain lived-in quality that’s welcoming (featuring cameos from a few golden throats), treating the participants with a unique dimension that only comes from knowledge of the business. Bell’s script concentrates on the competitive aspects of the job, with only a few selected to narrate a majority of the work, leaving Carol to search persistently for ways to make her big break, hindered not only by her legacy but gender as well, finding it difficult to make inroads in a male-dominated industry. The struggle is handled with a smile by Bell, who imagines Carol as a fidgety woman always interested in clandestinely recording different accents to feed her range, while taking any opportunity she can find to impress potential employers, finding success with her trailer work on the family film, “Welcome to the Jungle Gym.”

The other side of “In a World” takes on more domesticated matters, observing Dani and Moe struggle with the possibility of infidelity as the bored wife tests the companionship of Terry (Jason O’Mara), a handsome Irishman takes an interest in the nervous hotel employee. There’s also the saga of Louis, a shy guy who’s in love with Carol, but can’t quite work up the courage to tell his spastic love interest, resulting in a few comedic near-misses that find the pair flirting with a relationship without Carol ever realizing what’s going on. After all, she’s having sex with Gustav, who’s unaware he’s just bedded the woman taking food out of his mouth. To Bell’s credit, there’s a network of characters to follow throughout the effort, and “In a World” rarely stays in one place for very long, always hunting for a funny or emotional moment to make the personalities shine. It’s successful, but not terribly meaningful, working through some heavy formula to return to a place of industry knowledge with this incestuous group.

“In a World” climaxes with a dollop of suspense, detailing the fight to provide vocal lift to the marketing of the upcoming “Amazon Games,” pitting Gustav and his enormous ego, Sam and his desperation to restore his youthful dominance, and Carol’s hunger against one another as a professional is picked for the gig. The surge of anxiety is adequate, but not nearly as evocative as simply mingling with these people, studying their subtle power plays and charged interactions. Bell reveals herself to be an observant filmmaker and a splattery comedienne (the actress loves her improvisations), but she’s even better with this subject matter, pulling the curtain back on an industry that values its anonymity.

Starring: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Rob Corddry
Director: Lake Bell

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