Thursday, July 25, 2013

“In A World” – Movie Review



This week in my movie class, we saw the comedy “In A World”, starring Lake Bell, who also wrote and directed.


When a young woman pursues her father’s career as a voice-over announcer, she finds that the business is reluctant to hire women – but when she’s being considered for a new job, it turns out she’s competing against other industry veterans, including her own father.


At 31, Carol (Bell) is an underachiever and proud of it – working some occasional freelance jobs as a vocal coach, she doesn’t make enough money in order to have her own place, so she is living with her widowed father, Sam (Fred Melamed). Inviting Carol to leave because his girlfriend is going to move in with him, Sam tries to motivate her to start to take her career seriously by following in his footsteps as a voice-over announcer for movie trailers. Carol’s father is regarded as the voice-over king after the passing of the great Don LaFontaine and might be able to get her foot in the door; despite this, she realizes the business has a strong preference toward using men in their advertisements.

Sam is reveling in the fact that as an acknowledged leader in his field, he will be getting a lifetime achievement award at an upcoming ceremony. Realizing that he must soon pass the torch to an up-and-coming voice-over announcer, the logical pick would appear to be his good friend, Gustav (Ken Marino), a younger man who has managed to carve-out a successful career in this field. In celebration of his own success – and to honor his buddy Sam – Gustav throws a party; in addition to bringing his girlfriend, Sam drags Carol along in the hope that she can network herself. Quite by accident, however, this results in Carol and Gustav hooking-up.

While Carol seems to be in no hurry to end her trysts with Gustav, it is really Louis (Demetri Martin) in whom she is most interested – he’s the manager of the recording studio where she works and has made his affection for Carol no great secret. In the meantime, Carol learns that if she is willing to submit an audition tape, she will be considered for a voice-over job in a movie trailer that is bound to have high visibility and the potential for considerable career advancement. But when she discovers that both her father and Gustav are among the more seasoned professionals who are up for the same gig, will Carol have any chance of winning the opportunity?


From strictly a technical standpoint, the screenplay for “In A World” is well-crafted, if not always well-played. It hits all the right notes in terms of act-end turning points and climax as well as sub-plots and well-defined characters. As a comedy, however, it is a bit on the soft side – more mildly amusing than outright funny. Not much in the way of laugh-out-loud jokes, but nevertheless somewhat entertaining in an unthreatening, unchallenging kind of way. While the characters are clearly delineated, I didn’t find them to be terribly sympathetic and some of the scenes were little more than merely movie-convenient contrivances.

Clearly, Bell has called in quite a few favors to some of her colleagues, whose names and/or faces should be immediately familiar to most viewers; there are a number of actors and actresses of some note who at least make an appearance in this movie, if not play significant supporting roles. These include (in no particular order) Jeff Garlin, Geena Davis, Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman and Eva Longoria. So, if you get bored with the film and decide to play “Spot The Celebrity”, this is as good a motion picture to use as just about any other. Of course, the potential danger with these casting decisions is that when you see a star in a movie mostly populated with unknowns (especially in the lead roles), you can tend to get taken out of the story ever so briefly (if not entirely).

One of the things that might be either off-putting or confusing (or both) for some people is the derivation of the movie’s title and its reference to Don LaFontaine. LaFontaine was a real person who was somewhat famous for his ubiquity when it came to performing voice-overs for many movie trailers. One of his more infamous traits was arguably the fact that so many of his voice-overs would start with the phrase, “In a world …”. People unfamiliar with either or both of these facts might find themselves head-scratching throughout much of the film.

 In a World... (2013) on IMDb 7.1/10169 votes


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