"This Wednesday, one woman will teach another woman to sound a little less retarded."
Lake Bell starred, directed, and wrote the screenplay for this quirky romantic comedy which doesn't follow the normal standards of a genre film and at times feels like it's all over the place, but the awkward and goofy humor really worked for me. The kind of humor in In a World isn't for everyone, but I had a blast because I have a similar weird sense of humor like this. Bell was great in this film and I really liked her goofy character, she was charming. I had a lot of fun with this story and enjoyed all the quirky characters, but despite all the goofiness the film does make a statement about sexism in the film industry. Perhaps it is a bit heavy handed in the way it hammers the issue over and over again but the satire of Hollywood and all the back stabbings involved in the business worked extremely well for me. This screwball comedy is a bit ambitious but it works thanks to some charming performances and a tender romantic backstory.
The film opens with a tribute to the now deceased Don LaFontaine (who was the king of movie trailer voice-overs) through archival interview footage. In the interview Don's close friend and also a voice-over artist, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), is sharing his memories with the legend who coined the phrase "in a world" at the beginning of most of the movie trailers he lent his voice to. The other person interviewed is Don's son, Gustav (Ken Marino), who has inherited his father's empire and follows his foot steps as well. Sam has also been mentoring Gustav who he considers to be the future of the voice-over world. We are then introduced to Sam's daughter, Carol (Lake Bell), who has been working as a voice coach for other actors helping them on their accents and dialects. Carol doesn't make enough money to live on her own so she moves in with her sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins) who is married with Moe (Rob Corddry). Her life turns around when she agrees to do a voice-over gig that a young shy kid named Louis (Demetri Martin) offers her. Louis runs a sound mixing studio along with Heners (Nick Offerman) named Sound Mix-A-Lot. Carol does her job so well that she quickly begins getting more offers and all of a sudden has become a threat in the male dominated voice-over profession, competing against her father and Don's son.
Lake Bell is charismatic and her character has a lot of spark in this film which allows her to carry the movie despite being all over the place at times with different subplots. She is easy to route for in a male dominated world which she is about to interfere with. The story has many awkward moments which I found silly, but charming. She had great chemistry with Demetri Martin and their romantic story was more tender than what we usually see in a Hollywood rom-com. In a World is unbalanced at times, but the individual performances make each turn worth it. Nick Offerman and Rob Corddry were great in their secondary roles and they gave the film that extra spark that was needed. There were also some entertaining cameos. Lake Bell's solid work here leaves me interested in her upcoming projects because she has proved she has talent and a voice that should be heard.