Make way for a new showbiz triple threat! Lake Bell wrote and directed In A World and stars as the film’s central character Carol Solomon. The film is a romantic comedy, a family comedy and a workplace comedy.
Lake Bell’s is not a household name, but she has worked as an actor for years. I interviewed her for radio a decade ago when she was on a short-lived TV show called Miss Match. Now she adds feature film director and writer to her resume and I look forward to seeing what she delivers in the future. (She has also received great exposure this month with a nude cover shot for New York magazine.)
Carol Solomon is a voice coach who wants to make it big as an L.A. voice over talent, just like her father Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed) has done. His voce is anything but sotto—he has killer pipes and gets lots of work narrating movie trailers. Sam designates fellow voice talent Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) as the heir apparent to the real life announcer Don LaFontaine (noted for trailer scripts that begin with the words “In a world…”)
Sam tosses Carol out of his place because his girlfriend is moving in. Carol crashes with her sister Dani (Michela Watkins) and eventually causes her sister and her boyfriend Moe (Rob Corddry) to bust up. Meanwhile, Carol is in competition with Gustav for the plum gig of narrating the trailers for a new movie “quadrilogy.” When Gustav and Carol hook up, he doesn’t know (a) that she’s a voice talent and (b) her friend Sam’s daughter.
In A World is not gut busting funny, but it has its moments. I overheard a fellow critic call it “sitcomy.” In a way, the movie does recall elements of media-related workplace sitcoms (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and WKRP in Cincinnati come to mind) with its lineup of likeable second bananas and oddball tertiary characters. Plus plot points that circle back to earlier setups.
The cast also includes Demetri Martin, Nick Offerman and Tig Notaro as recording studio personnel. Eva Longoria cameos as herself, doing ADR dubbing. Geena Davis appears as a movie studio head. (The formerly glamorous Davis also serves as a sad example of bad plastic surgery.)
In A World is rated R, mainly for language. This is a movie for grownups that is nicely paced and thoroughly entertaining. It clocks in at 93 minutes.
Oddly, the trailer for In A World, is one of those that gives away many of the movie’s best lines. Skip the trailer, but see this movie about trailers. As has been written in bad commercial copy read by voice talents for decades, “You’ll be glad you did!”