Actress turned first time writer/director Lake Bell takes us into the very specific, kitschy, cutthroat world of voice over artists and actors in her comedic love letter to the profession, In A World... Bell's novice foray into independent filmmaking is mostly a charming, triumphant success. She surrounds herself with a very talented comedic cast as she balances a fairly conventional workplace comedy premise with some nice Hollywood in jokes and humorous situations.
In A World... features a plethora of comedy talent. Bell has more than a few foils in Ken Marino, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins (as her more tightly wound sister), Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, and most notably, actual voice over artist (and actor) Fred Melamed as her daunting, legendary father.
Bell stars as Carol, a struggling and aspiring voice actor and coach, trying to break into movie trailers and commercials in the face of a male dominated, somewhat sexist, and very insular industry (think boy's club). Her interactions with her family, peers, and rivals are wrapped nicely into funny scenes where other performances are allowed to shine and play off the intriguing premise.
The film weaves in elements of feminism and female empowerment with mostly endearing results. However, a recurring in-joke about "sexy baby voices" tends to drag beyond its limited humour. Bell really gets into her ensemble cast of characters, allowing all of them moments to reveal and build their characters. She avoids making any roles one note or wasting the talent around her.
Bell proves herself an admirable filmmaker in her first outing as In A World... plays as a very winning, amusing feature full of fun and funny moments often at her own expense. In spite of some muddled plotting and a little too much going on in each of the character relationships, Bell balances all the film elements well with some sharp writing and direction. In a world where she acts, writes, and directs her own feature film debut, things go fairly well.
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