Craig's First Take: "In a World..."

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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. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation.
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In a world where men dominate, one woman, who you kinda remember from other movies and TV shows, primarily “Childrens Hospital” and a supporting role in “No Strings Attached”, will raise her voice, or more likely lower it, for women everywhere by becoming the first female voice over trailer announcer.

 

Ok, now replace my nasally voice with Don LaFontaine’s roughness, a voice that no movie fan from the 60’s all the way up to the announcer’s death in 2008 can shake, and you have yourself a solid promo and a pretty decent movie. Of course writer-director-star Lake Bell deserves most of the credit here, her movie is not exactly flawless but it’s pleasant, and has a good heart and sense of humor.

Bell plays Carol, the daughter of a voice-over trailer announcer (Fred Melamud) who, fictionally, began his career around the same time as LaFontaine. Carol, a vocal coach, wants to follow in dad’s footsteps but the industry wants deep voices. He also seems to have little interest in having his daughter do that, or so he says during the misogynistic conversations he has with other voice over actor Gustav Warner (Ken Marino), who is in line to resuscitate the “in a world” intro for an upcoming “Hunger Games” inspired trailer.

 

But when dad kicks her out, she finds herself filling in for someone at the recording studio for a “childrens romantic comedy”  and soon she is lining up gigs left and right, even closing in on that “Games” trailer, much to the consternation of Gustav. Only he doesn’t know she’s the one stealing his jobs when he tries to hit on her at his party, nor does her father know she’s the one who’s becoming hotter in the industry right now than he is.  

 

It’s an obvious female empowerment movie except most of the ways it pokes fun at misogynism, as well as the “Games” inspired movie, called “Amazonian Games”, feel like jokes that should have been taken further than they are and there is a subplot about a marital spat between Carol’s sister and her husband (Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry) that seems both out of place and portrayed with a lacking sense of substance or comedy. What keeps “In a World” going comedically though is a delightful quirkiness, especially between Bell and Demetri Martin, playing a geeky sound mixer at the voice-over studio.

 

“In a World” also manages to be a solid film about women reaching for what they want in their professional lives, which let’s face it, especially behind the scenes in making movies, is not so easy. Hey, Geena Davis has a couple of scenes here and when is the last time you even saw her in front of a camera? Hopefully we’re seeing the beginning stages of a strong female filmmaker in Bell.