Published on February 8th, 2014 | by Craig Silliphant0
In a World…
Working in radio, film, and television, I spend a lot of time around recording studios, doing a lot of voiceover work myself, and working with others, from the voicing to the production side of things. In a World… is a movie set in that space, mostly in Hollywood and revolving around the world of film trailer voiceovers. “In a world…” is the phrase heard in many epic movie trailers, made famous by legendary, late voiceover artist Don LaFontaine, a.k.a. ‘Thunder Throat’ and ‘The Voice of God.’
The movie is written and directed by and stars Lake Bell, who has been in a lot of crappier romcoms and some TV shows, but clearly grabs us by the lapels to proclaim that she’s a real talent. In In a World… Bell plays Carol Solomon, a struggling voiceover artist that gets a shot at voicing a trailer for one of the biggest properties in Hollywood, only to come up against a voicing legend second only to Don LaFontaine, her own father, Sam Soto.
In a World… is funny and Lake Bell has excellent comedic timing, especially in her scenes with comedians like Rob Corddry and Demetri Martin. Bell has a way of being breezy and real, by way of an awkwardness that never feels forced, and also never compromises the fact that her character is a smart woman when it comes down to it. It’s not pratfalls — it’s painting a real person, strong in some moments, clumsy in others. And speaking of real people, the movie gets a bit meta here and there, with a few people like Jeff Garlin and Cameron Diaz showing up to play themselves.
The dramatic centre of the movie is also mined for comedy, in a way that movies about family can capture. Her father loves her (and her sister), but his ego gets in the way of doing the right thing sometimes. There are also some subplots involving Carol’s sister and her husband (Rob Corddry), which could have felt a little iffy and extraneous in a lesser movie, but here they tie in well with Carol’s world, and they’re cut so that their pacing never slows the movie down.
The film also has feminist tones, but without hammering you over the head, which always works best. Tell the story, and let me make my own mind up. The trailer voice over world is obviously male dominated, which gave Bell the idea for the film itself. The movie trailer Carol is going out for is a spoof of the ubiquitous tween novels, mainly The Hunger Games and Twilight, which the movie contends aren’t harbouring the strong female characters they pretend to; that they’re actually tearing down feminism.
In a World… builds a world, and we are happy to inhabit it, sad to see it go when it’s over. I could easily have spent more time in this world — and you don’t have to be from the voiceover world to enjoy this movie. Sign me up for whatever Lake Bell’s next project might be.