Review by-Jarrett Leahy
Carol is a struggling voice coach who is forever in the shadow of her father Sam, a legend in the cutthroat industry of commercial voice-over acting. To make matters worse, she is now being forced to crash at her sister and husband’s place when her father’s much younger girlfriend decides to move in. Fortunes change however when Gustav, Sam’s voice-over protege, gets sick and is no-show for a highly desired job voicing a trailer for the latest big budget quadrilogy, The Amazon Games. In a pinch, Carol is asked to fill in and record a temp track. Her recording impresses the film’s executive producer so much that Carol is now in serious contention to land this sought after assignment. Upon hearing the news that Carol and not Gusav is now the front runner, her father, never one to be outshone, tries to use his industry clout to usurp this prestigious gig, setting up a contentious audition competition between father, daughter, & protege.
In A World…, recently released on DVD, is a charmingly confident little independent comedy written, directed, and starring Lake Bell. Bell, a gifted young comedienne, has spent the last six years cutting her teeth on the absurdist comedy show, Childrens Hospital where she plays Dr. Cat Black and has recently directed four episodes. Two of her fellow Childrens Hospital co-stars, Rob Corddry and Ken Marino, lend their comedic talents to the project, playing Carol’s brother-in-law, Moe, and the rival voice-over talent, Gusav. Bell was also able to cast her close friend, Cameron Diaz, who makes an amusing uncredited cameo in The Amazon Games trailer.
In A World…sneaks up on you and slowly unravels its sweet, quirky goodness. A subject as obscure and silly as voice-over acting runs the risk of turning campy and spoofish, so it is a testament to Lake’s skillful writing that the story remains sincere and lighthearted throughout. However, within that lightheartedness is a subtle yet important personal message from Bell, as she sheds light on an industry where women struggle for respect and job opportunities. I have a soft spot for a film where the star is also listed as the writer and director. When you are the sole creator of a work of cinema, there is nowhere to hide if things don’t pan out. I admire filmmakers that have the courage and the confidence in their talents and their work to take on all three roles. A true triple threat talent is rare to find, and Lake Bell certainly has made an unanticipated statement with In A World…-JL