Pin It
Favorite

Three Words 

In a World... makes us think more about the people behind the screen

click to enlarge Lake Bell — remember that name. You’ll be seeing more of her.
  • Lake Bell — remember that name. You’ll be seeing more of her.

The lights finally fell dark. The projector beamed through the dusty theater and the screen went green, with a message from the Motion Picture Association of America telling you that the preview coming up next was approved for all audiences.

Then you heard those three words:

“In a world...”

It was always that same guy, but you probably thought it was God informing you that aliens had taken over Earth or that Big Momma was back in the house for a sequel. His name was Don LaFontaine, and he’s the man we see in a video tribute at the beginning of Lake Bell’s directorial debut.

These days, movie trailers don’t use that much voice-over, maybe because LaFontaine died five years ago. But In a World... is built upon the singular premise that someone is going to revive the “in a world” fad, and we get to meet the people who say things like that from offscreen for a living. One of those people is Carol (played by Bell, who also wrote and directed the film), whose dad (as silky-voiced and grossly hairy as we’ve ever seen Fred Melamed) is also a voice-over artist and gunning for that job. Carol’s résumé is short and she still lives with her dad — until he kicks her out in favor of his new girlfriend, who happens to be Carol’s age. So Carol ends up living with her sister (an excellent Michaela Watkins) and her husband (Rob Corddry, doing some serious acting) while rising through the ranks of the voice-over industry.

Bell’s script is funny, and even when she bends her character’s quirks too far into the “I’m so goofy and silly that I don’t realize I’m tremendously attractive” territory populated by the likes of Zooey Deschanel, she brings us back to a more believable realm with sturdy characters. Her chemistry with Demetri Martin, who plays the awkward studio manager, is just the exact amount of cute. And the way she sets up the outrageous family dynamic between Carol, her father and sister takes the film onto fresh ground. But you’ll see this movie for its humor — which will have Bell making more movies like this for years to come.

There are a few distractions along the way, including cameos by Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation), comic Tig Notaro and — get ready for it — Geena flippin’ Davis, that seem almost tacked on for a little more star appeal. Still, the film never goes off track — at least not so far that one of Bell’s zingers can’t right the ship.

On the surface, In a World... is a look into the idiosyncrasies of the voice-over industry. Through that lens, Bell explores how we talk, as Carol perfects her accents by surreptitiously tape-recording everyone. She also puts the smackdown on the Kardashianization of female speech patterns, in which women speak like “sexy babies” while ending all statements in a question. Her imitation of a smoothie-seeking young lady — to her face — just about makes the movie.

We’re going to be seeing a hell of a lot more of Lake Bell. She’s funny, and she’s got a nice voice, too. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Real Disaster
  • Real Disaster

    Deepwater Horizon feels trapped between tragic facts and genre conventions
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • The Kids Aren't Alright
  • The Kids Aren't Alright

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children can't quite strike the balance between whimsy and darkness
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Enemy No. 1
  • Enemy No. 1

    Oliver Stone's Snowden doesn't break new ground but is still a thrill ride
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Mike Bookey

  • Curtain Call
  • Curtain Call

    The Magic Lantern Theatre is closed, but its screens might not be dark for long
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Wrap it Up
  • Wrap it Up

    Sweeto Burrito made me rethink everything that can go into a tortilla
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • A Toast to America
  • A Toast to America

    The official Clinton vs. Trump debate drinking game
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Art of the Deal

    Local indie labels offer artists another marketing option, but not everyone is convinced they're necessary
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

COUNTRY


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Behind the Music
  • Behind the Music

    The Grammy Awards are about much more than what you see on TV
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation