In a World …

In a World …

2013, R, 93 min. Directed by Lake Bell. Starring Lake Bell, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Fred Melamed, Ken Marino, Demetri Martin, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, Alexandra Holden, Corsica Wilson.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Aug. 23, 2013

They invite us to buy detergent, go to the movies, and refrain from mixing certain kinds of medications. They are the voiceover artists – never seen, only heard – but in this ensemble charmer, they get the spotlight for once.

The title refers to the phrase made famous by the real Don LaFontaine, who, until his recent death, was the king of movie-trailer narration. When a fictional film studio in In a World … decides to revive his catchphrase for their upcoming release of a Hunger Games-like production, every guy with professional pipes is jockeying for the gig. But there’s a dark-horse candidate, and he is a she. Better yet, she’s played by Lake Bell, a coltish beauty with a bawdy underskin; she also has the best play-dumb mug since Judy Holliday.

Bell plays Carol, a vocal coach and expert mimic of accents who aches to break into the male-dominated voiceover industry. For a role model, she need look no further than her dad Sam (Melamed, with a killer delivery, like honey-baked ham). He’s a titan in the field but a firm believer in the old-boy network, which means Carol can add “daddy issues” to an already impressive list of hang-ups. See also: irregular employment; cluelessness when it comes to the male gaze, including the puppy-dog eyes of eternal nice-guy Louis (Demetri Martin); and homelessness – she’s crashing in the cramped apartment of her sister and her husband, played by Watkins and Corddry, whose marital problems movingly ground the film when it balloons too close to caricature with its many outsized personalities.

In a World … is an ambitious comedy with not-negligible dramatic depth, but Bell, a first-time feature writer and director, is frankly too generous with her large cast. She’s too willing to draw the focus from her heroine, which means Carol and her message of empowerment come out half-cooked. There’s an ill-sitting bit in which Carol shames another woman, insisting she’ll never be taken seriously with her “sexy baby voice” – a glass-house complaint from a thirtysomething professional who dresses like a fourth-grade, arts-and-crafts camper.

Still: In a world in which cookie-cutter, unchallenging movie heroines are assembled according to Hollywood’s cynical assumption that Jane Q. Public is a flaming idiot, Bell’s breath-of-fresh-air creation definitely has something interesting to say.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Lake Bell Films
I Do ... Until I Don't
Marriage (comedies) ain't easy

Josh Kupecki, Sept. 1, 2017

In a World …
...

July 29, 2021

More by Kimberley Jones
We Have an Issue: Chow’s On
We Have an Issue: Chow’s On
Welcoming back our First Plates issue, celebrating the restaurants and food trucks defining Austin dining today

July 30, 2021

Jungle Cruise
Take the Disney ride with Emily Blunt and the Rock, straight to adventure

July 30, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

In a World …, Lake Bell, Lake Bell, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Fred Melamed, Ken Marino, Demetri Martin, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, Alexandra Holden, Corsica Wilson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle