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"In a World..." Film Review: Voice-over Blues

the movie poster
IMP Awards

In A World...


Lake Bell has been consistently active in the entertainment industry for some time now. She’s participated in some interesting projects and also some terrible ones. Nonetheless, for me anyway, Lake Bell has never been part of the terrible ones’ problems. The script and the story usually are. Of course, Bell is an attractive woman. But, it is really her unique line delivery, casual charm, and comedic timing that have kept her as an absorbing screen presence even when the projects she is a part of are not. In a World… , written and directed by Ms. Bell, encapsulates everything that has been likeable about her in past films and television shows and spreads it across an hour and a half canvas.

The movie’s premise follows Carol Soloman, daughter of the legendary voice-over artist Sam Soto (Fred Melamed), who is a vocal coach striving to land a big job as a voiceover artist in a industry that is heavily dominated by men. When a new film series The Amazon Games intends to usher in the return of the famous words “In a world…” with its theatrical trailer, Carol decides to make an audition recording in a bid for the gig a the trailer’s voiceover even while Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) , an up and coming voiceover artist, and Carol’s own father, Sam, compete for the same coveted job.

At the center is the ambitious Carol. Bell gives a completely engaging performance. Yet, there is subtleness to her execution, a performance not accompanied by any abrasiveness or loudness. Clearly, there’s a method to her character’s idiosyncrasies: the way she moves, her facial expressions and the scattered nature of Carol’s dialogue. In the first portion of the film, Carol’s very playful interaction with Eva Longoria, as herself, in assisting the actress in polishing her accent for a film, serves as a perfect introduction to Ms. Soloman and this unique story about an industry that is often overlooked. In a World…’s sense of humor is almost solely derived from the minutiae of the industry it studies and some of the kooky individuals that populate it, rather than just being filled with random, unrelated goofy humor for random, unrelated goofy humor’s sake.

Louis, excellently performed by Demetri Martin, is one of Carol’s producers for her audition recording. Martin’s character is a simple man, one who pines for Carol. The unconfident Louis, as it turns out, is a sweet and respectful match for the somewhat reckless and uncertain Carol. Moe (Rob Corddry) and Dani (Michaela Watkins) as Carol’s brother-in-law and sister, respectfully, are an appealing pair playing a married couple experiencing significant lows in their life together.

On paper, a movie about the voice-over industry may seem somewhat dull. In a World… is anything but. It is unquestionably one of the most unique and genuine comedies to come out of independent Hollywood in some time, with even a dose of social commentary intelligently interspersed. Lake Bell’s debut feature is something she should be hugely proud of. In fact, everyone involved should be commended for making a movie with such a small budget and a substantially uncommon focus, pack this much punch and heart. In a World… is an accomplishment of notable proportions, especially for a woman who has never written and directed a feature before. If strongly written, well-acted comedies are your preference then you ought to check out this lively gem wherever you can find it.