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.
|Title||In A World|
|Actors||Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Eva Longoria, Demetri Martin|
|OFLC rating||MA 15+|
An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protege.
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.
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.