by George Wolf
Well, I admit it, I didn’t see this coming from Lake Bell.
Bell, known mainly as an actress from her multiple film and television roles, does have experience writing and directing short films. Even so, In a World…, her debut feature as writer/director/star, has the assured confidence of a much more seasoned filmmaker.
It is a clever, witty, insightful film, uniquely set inside the professional voiceover industry.
Bell plays Carol, a voice coach who also happens to be the daughter of one of the most legendary voices heard in movie trailers (Fred Melamed). Though Carol would love to follow in her father’s buttery-voiced footsteps, she’s repeatedly told it is not an area where women are welcomed.
While her personal life spirals downward, Carol’s professional life sees an uptick. Unexpectedly, she finds herself in direct competition with her arrogant father and his douche of a protege (Ken Marino) for a coveted gig voicing the trailers of a new, Hunger Games-style “quadrilogy.”
Though never really laugh out loud hilarious, In a World… offers much to keep you engaged and smiling. Bell’s script delivers finely drawn characters, smart dialogue, and honest takes on love and sexism that feel refreshingly real.
Bell elicits wining performances from her ensemble cast (along with a couple nice cameos) and delivers a star-worthy performance herself, moving easily between emotional, goofy or sexy.
Surprise or not, In a World… establishes Bell as an original filmmaking voice with great potential. It is a movie that knows where it’s going from the opening frame, and Bell has no trouble keeping you thoroughly charmed as she slyly drops some knowledge.