It's a genuinely happy day when us critics get a film that we are actually enthusiastic to talk about and champion. "In A World" is one of those rare films that makes you feel all warm inside and not pandered to all at the same time as it generates genuine heartfelt laughs.
An underachieving vocal coach (Lake Bell) is motivated by her father (Fred Melamed), the king of movie-trailer voice-overs and his fairly arcane world views, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation and change herself all at the same the time.
Making her debut as a Writer/Director, Lake Bell's "In A World" is such a self assured and genuine piece of storytelling that it will actually catch a fair number of people off guard. Rarely do comedies come across this legitimately genuine and heartfelt, staying grounded in naturalistic tones and situations while still getting some pretty darn funny laughs all at the same time. Bell shoots it incredibly well and has a natural knack for storytelling as the narrative never gets bogged down in any particular situation. Instead she lets it all evolve at such a natural and even pace, as we can easily put ourselves as audiences members in any situation that our heroine and subject is going through. The writing is subtle, sharp and original if only for the fact that it doesn't hit us over the head with any broad comedy bits (even the sexy baby talk) and everything has purpose and nothing is out of place or unnatural in hopes of making it a universally beloved happy ending. The film's ultimate charm is really in the fact that it isn't going out of its way to try and charm us, this is just a fun quirky story that all audiences can get on board with, and a thoroughly likable ensemble lead by a star in the making, Lake Bell.
Probably most recognizable from her work on "Children's Hospital" at this stage, Lake Bell is a familiar face who has been seen in a number of shows ranging from "Boston Legal" to the short lived "How To Make It America" but this will be the moment that puts her on the map. Her performance as Carol, ran the gamut from bold and brave to goofy and vulnerable and everything in-between. Instead of crafting a something out of a generic comedy mold, she makes Carol a living breathing person that will all connect to in such a big way. Fred Melamed who is a noted voiceover actor in his own right is absolutely hilarious as he tries to in his own way protect her but ultimately put her down all at the same time and the loaded ensemble cast of Rob Corddry, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Nick Offerman and Ken Marino all get moments to shine alongside some fun Hollywood cameos to keep us guessing at every turn.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and the special features include a feature length commentary track from writer/director/star Lake Bell, an alternate opening sequence, deleted scenes, "In A World..." promo trailers and a gag reel.
The cutthroat world of Hollywood is rife for comedy and the voice-over side of it is obviously no different and if "In A World" has shown us anything is that Lake Bell is a talent to be reckoned with. The comedy world better pay attention as a truly genuine and naturalistic storyteller is now making herself felt on the scene as "In A World" came out of left field to become the heartfelt comedy of the past year.
5 out of 5 stars.