In a World…

In a World... photo starrating-3stars.jpgCarol Solomon is a struggling thirtysomething trying to eke out a living as vocal coach in Los Angeles. She’s always lived in the shadow of her father Sam Soto (Fred Melamed). He has been a leader in the world of voice-over work for movie trailers. Then one day she decides to make a play for the male dominated universe of her dad.

Quirky romantic comedy concerns people who make a living doing voice-over narration. The title refers to a phrase that real life legend of the field Don LaFontaine, used to start many movie ads. Writer Lake Bell gets originality points for mining an interesting occupation and examining the female component. Subtract points however for a somewhat disjointed tale that loses focus along the way. Bell even throws in a romantic subplot that isn’t particularly involving. Shy nerd Louis (Demetri Martin) is crushing on her hard. Carol becomes one of those clichéd woman-child personalities that we’ve seen male comedians do 100 times before. Their dialogue is entirely stammering nervous banter. It’s obvious to everyone but themselves that they like each other. Just kiss already! There’s also her sister (Michaela Watkins) and her sister’s husband (Rob Corddry) who are experiencing marital woes. Their story forms a pretty sizeable chunk of the plot. It really has nothing to do with the main issue at hand. Furthermore, the problem is introduced then solved without much fanfare. Guess they needed to pad out the already short running time.

There’s an utter novelty to the subject that In a World… explores. As star, writer, director, and producer, Lake Bell is clearly talented. She he has a knack for clever situations that will serve her burgeoning writing career. There are some nice scenarios scattered throughout with a host of amusing people. Bell has an ease for creating a character piece. A bit where she helps Eva Longoria with her Cockney accent was rather humorous. As a champion for female empowerment, the narrative is mostly effective. Given the point of view, you want to love this film. However a late development delivered by Geena Davis in the last act, undermines her accomplishments. It renders her triumphs meaningless and leaves a bad taste. Despite that questionable denouement, the chronicle has some enjoyable vignettes. Bell’s facility with familial relations is raw and honest. Her father’s loyalties are surprisingly unexpected for example. In a World… is a slow climb up the ladder of success with more good elements than bad.

19 Responses to “In a World…”

  1. Probably one of the more honest reviews I’ve read of the film, so thank you. I didn’t know about the third act issues with Geena Davis. Still, however, it sounds a lot of fun and Lake Bell is gorgeous. So I’ll definitely rent it.


    • I won’t give anything away. Only that Geena Davis plays a character that negates the power of the climax. It’s not her performance, mind you. It’s the script as it’s written that’s the problem.

      Oh and thanks for the kind words.


  2. First I have read about this one Mark, thanks for the heads up.


  3. Seems very interesting. Too bad it was just, ok.


  4. Oh, cool. Mark likes his own review, here too! (So I’m not the only pretentious one around here. . . .lol, I jest. . . I jest.) This is a very fair review man. I did thoroughly enjoy myself with it (your point about it being a novel perspective and the fact that it’s centered on a very unusual career choice aided in that), though I do also agree about the third act ‘issue.’ A little contrived, but I thought it kind of fit. They certainly could have worked that turn in a bit more subtly, that’s for sure. Nice review.


    • “Liking” my own review was a mistake I made while responding to a comment on my phone. I don’t blame you for kidding me. It must’ve seemed a little like patting myself on the back. Ha ha.


      • LOL I don’t think I ever click like any of my entries. You’re so pretentious, Mark!! 🙂 This one actually just came to my local theater and I am going to try to check it out if I get a chance. From the sound of your review I will probably agree with you; i hate it when they force subplots, especially romantic ones that take away from the story at-hand.

        I thought “Brides Maids” was absolutely hilarious the first half and then as soon as the story shifted to Kristen Wiig and that dull cop’s love story then the film became incredibly lackluster. Chris O’Dowd or whatever his name is is just painfully dull, and the love story with Kristen Wiig felt very forced; like there really was no reason she would realistically even be interested in him in the events that unfolded. The interesting part of the film was Kristen Wiig learning to mature and combat jealousy of her best friend, and compete against Rose Byrne for her best friend’s affection. Rose Byrne was hilarious in this role, and really stretched herself from “Damages” and “Insiduous”.

        Good review. If I see this one I will let you know what I think.


      • Do you realize you just dashed off a mini review of Bridesmaids while discussing In a World? Now that’s what I call multi-tasking! Ha ha. 🙂


      • Aw man, i should have marked “spoilers” – my bad! lol.

        I think I may try to see “Prisoners” this weekend instead of Insidious 2, and if so may check out “In A World” if it’s still here.


      • Prisoners is Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed Incendies. I’m intrigued.


  5. Still catching up on your reviews. I missed this one at IFFBoston and when it was out in theaters a couple of weeks ago, but plan to catch it at some point because I’m fascinated by the dynamics of voiceover acting. Been reading a lot of raves for this, so it’s nice to see a more even-tempered review. Hopefully the stumbling blocks in this film serve as lessons to Bell as she moves forward in her career. Glad to hear she at least has a promising start in the writing/directing realm.


    • I like to support a talented writer-director and Bell is definitely in that category. This is an effort marked more by potential than actual results but I’m interested to see what she does next.


  6. Still really hoping to catch this one before it disappears. Sounds good even if it’s not perfect. Good review. 🙂


  7. Finally saw this, so I came to check out your review. I agree with much of your commentary – notably that the film has so much going on that it doesn’t always feel connected. Dani and Moe’s marital issues, for instance.

    The Geena Davis denouement is actually one of my favorite parts, though, as it highlights the differences in feminist philosophy, and thereby serves the picture’s primary theme.

    Anyway. That was a lot of conversation about a movie you saw about six months ago. My main point: good review!


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