If you are a fan of 'Childrens Hospital', then you are familiar with Lake Bell. She has also appeared in some films and television shows in supporting roles. What you might not have known is that Ms. Bell had ambitions to write and direct. She does both with her feature debut, 'In A World...'
Don LaFontaine was the undisputed king of the voice-over until his death in 2008. In his wake, there have been a number of people who have stepped up and made careers in this industry. Strangely enough, they were almost exclusively male.
Carol (Bell) is a struggling vocal coach who wants a shot in the world of voice-overs. Her father Sam (Fred Melamed) is now the preeminent voice of movies and he is about the get a lifetime achievement award for his work. Hot on his heels is the up-and-coming Gustav Warner (Ken Marino).
Sam kicks Carol out of his house so his young girlfriend can live with him. Dejected, she stays with her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and her husband Moe (Rob Corddry) who are going through a rough patch in their relationship.
One day, at work, Carol steps in to do some temporary tracks when Gustav fails to show up for a gig. The executive producer hears this and is impressed. He gives her the job which causes waves throughout the industry. She is encouraged by her engineer friend Louis (Demitri Martin).
Will Carol survive in this male-dominated industry? Will her father approve? Will those who conspire against her succeed?
While the story clearly aims to be empowering, especially to demographics/subcultures, it is never preachy or overbearing. That requires a deft hand because it is a thin line. Bell was so skillful in her writing of this that she was given a screenwriting award at the Sundance Film Festival.
There is never the sense that the script is going for huge laughs, so don’t expect to be in stitches from start to finish. It is rather low-key. That said, the tone is light throughout and there are chuckles strewn about which really makes this an enjoyable viewing experience.
The romance between Carol and Louis never really seems to come together. It’s believable that there is a fondness between the characters, but even by the end, it’s not really clear whether anything comes of it.
Bell is a solid central character for this film. Melamed uses his remarkable voice to good effect here and lends credibility to the premise. Demetri Martin hasn’t really been able to get much going for himself outside of his standup routine, from a single-season show on Comedy Central, to a few appearances in some bad movies. It can be said that this is the best film he has been involved in and the part suits him. There are a few other recognizable faces in this story. Keep an eye out.
Special features include: a few previews.
'In A World...' is the rare indie comedy that dares to make an overt statement about an issue that probably hasn't occurred to most people.
This movie's success on an aesthetic level should afford Bell many more opportunities to bring stories to life on the screen.
Her success right out of the gate is a great indication that there is more quality to come.
Rated R 93 minutes 2014