In A World review: Beguiling delights behind the voiceover

Writer-director-star Lake Bell has crafted a charming comedy about family, friendship ... and the film voiceover industry.

Writer-director Lake Bell is also the star of this quick-witted beguiling comedy of female identity, family ties and an unseen but fiercely competitive aspect of the film business, the voiceover industry. Her character, Carol, is a voice coach who's obsessive enough to whip out her digital recorder when she hears an interesting accent, no matter who's talking or how uncomfortable the encounter might be.

Trailer: In A World

An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star.

Carol is driven but she's also diffident, and this isn't helped by the fact she is working in the shadow of her father (Fred Melamed), a famous voice artist who has never given either of his two daughters their due. As he prepares to accept a lifetime achievement award, he's grooming a male heir apparent, the somewhat sleazy Gustav (Ken Marino). Then a plum gig comes up, the trailer for a new cult fantasy movie series, and to everyone's surprise, including her own, it looks as if Carol might be a contender.

The awkward, smart Carol is a terrific central character, but this isn't a one-woman show. Bell has written several strong supporting roles that give her film an affectionate, well-rounded sense of authenticity. There's a well-drawn subplot about the fractures in the relationship between her sister (Michaela Watkins) and her sister's husband (Rob Corddy); this is juxtaposed with more light-hearted rom-com storyline about a bumbling sound studio guy (Demetri Martin) who has a crush on Carol that's blindingly obvious to everyone but her. There are some neat in-jokes: a fleeting glimpse of Cameron Diaz in the fantasy film trailer, a gag involving teaching Eva Longoria a Cockney accent, and an intriguing appearance from Geena Davis as a studio executive.

Reviewer rating


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

name In A World
Genre Comedy-Drama
Director Lake Bell
Screen Writer Lake Bell
Actors Lake BellFred MelamedMichaela WatkinsEva LongoriaDemetri Martin
OFLC rating MA 15+
Year 2013
Language English

An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protege.

Full synopsis

In A World ... – the title is a neatly employed running gag, a reference to a legendary introductory phrase in movie trailers – explores issues about work, family dynamics, sexual politics, desire and romance within an appealing, sharp comic framework. Bell's acting career includes supporting roles in several Hollywood comedies: let's hope she gets plenty more chances to write and direct her own.