In a World…CultureCinemaMovie reviews
Best known for her role in Adult Swim’s madcap Children’s Hospital, Lake Bell writes, directs and stars in the film In a World… – a refreshingly smart comedy about Hollywood voiceover artists. Bell plays Carol Solomon, a struggling vocal coach trying to break into this hitherto male-dominated arena. With the death of Don LaFontaine (aka “The Voice of God”), the studios are in search of a new set of pipes for an upcoming epic trailer. Carol joins the race, competing against golden boy Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) and her own father (Fred Melamed).
It’s a premise that allows Bell to take a number of satirical swipes at Hollywood’s ingrained patriarchy, but In a World… is far from an issue-driven movie. First and foremost, it’s a generously drawn ensemble comedy, nailing that perfect When Harry Met Sally warmth so absent from today’s Apatow dominated scene.
Aside from delivering a charmingly goofy heroine, Bell has gathered a cast of supporting characters who just demand audience affection. This includes Park and Recreation’s Nick Offerman with his usual style of dry observation, and stand-up Demetri Martin as the sound technician whose love for Carol is evident to everyone but her.
The most surprising performance comes from Rob Corddry (one of Bell’s Children’s Hospital co-stars), who delivers a wonderfully understated performance as Carol’s brother-in-law. The couple are going through a rocky patch, their marriage coming apart at the seams just as Carol’s star is on the rise. It’s a storyline Bell devotes a lot of screen time to, demonstrating her skill in pairing moments of real pathos with hilarious one-liners, while managing the tonal shift utterly effortlessly.
In a world where one too many Jennifer Aniston vehicles have given the rom-com a bad name, Lake Bell’s film claws back some dignity for the genre. Natural, witty, and offering a fascinating glimpse into one of showbiz’s lesser-known industries, this movie signals the emergence of a serious filmmaking talent.
In a World…is released nationwide on 13th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for In a World…here: