In a World…

by Alan Rapp on November 8, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: In a World…
  • IMDB: link

In a World...Premiering at Sundance earlier this year first-time writer/director Lake Bell‘s In a World… quickly became a critical darling taking home the festival’s award for screenwriting. I’ve been largely unimpressed with Bell and her forgettable career which includes one of the worst comedies I ever had the misfortune to sit through, so I can definitely understand her reasoning for wanting to but together the kind of role no one else was offering her.

As the film of a first time director In a World… shows promise and centering the story around the largely untapped world of voice-over artists gives the otherwise by-the-numbers romantic comedy something of an unique feel. Bell’s time in the industry also allows her to put together a pretty strong indie cast of familiar faces.

But despite the intriguing set-up and good performances, most of the promise of In a World… is unfulfilled. Bell’s creativity in one part of the story is balanced by laziness in another as she fails to do much other than offer up what amounts to a slightly better than average romcom.

Bell stars as a voice acting coach most notable for being the daughter of the last remaining giant of the voice-over industry, the pompous Sam Soto (Fred Melamed) who is dating a woman (Alexandra Holden) his daughter’s age while promoting an equally obnoxious friend (Ken Marino) as the industry’s next big thing. And, in a plot right out of a romcom playboook, kicks his daughter out of their home in the opening scene without warning to shack up with his young girlfriend forcing Carol to move in with her constantly bickering sister (Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law (Rob Corddry).

The plot runs basically as you’d expect as the under-appreciated Carol steps in to do the narration of a trailer in an emergency and quickly becomes the toast of the industry which angers both her rival (Marino), who sleeps with her without knowing who she is, and her father whose jealousy knows no bounds. Along the way she’ll also try and save her sister’s marriage and begin a relationship with a quirky but kind-hearted old friend (Demetri Martin) who finally gathers enough courage to ask her out.

In a World...

In a World… isn’t a bad film by any means, but once the novelty of the setting wears off you realize it doesn’t have much to say about voice-over actors who are apparently even more self-centered than their better known Hollywood brethren or relationships as the more homely friend turns out to be the right man for our protagonist surprising absolutely no one.

Fellow Daily Show correspondents Martin and Corddry are entertaining, and Bell is fine in the cliched role of the perfect single woman just goofy enough to balance her looks who somehow hasn’t met the right guy yet (or has, but doesn’t know it yet). I’m a fan of Holden, but the role of Jamie doesn’t offer her much to do other than a single monologue late in the film to finally put her boyfriend in his place. Of all the performances, Melamed steals the show as the big fish in a small pond whose limited view of the world is put into question by his daughter’s success.

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