Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

L.A. Film Fest Review: 'In A World...' Directed By & Starring Lake Bell

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist June 18, 2013 at 11:01AM

In a world... where female writers are scarce and female writer/directors even more so, Lake Bell has done both with panache in her feature debut, “In A World...” That the film itself is a meta-commentary on the persistent and open sexism in Hollywood is even more impressive. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s funny to boot.
0
Lake Bell, In A World

In a world... where female writers are scarce and female writer/directors even more so, Lake Bell has done both with panache in her feature debut, “In A World...” That the film itself is a meta-commentary on the persistent and open sexism in Hollywood is even more impressive. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s funny to boot.

Lake Bell, In A World

“In A World...” takes place within the cottage industry of voice over artists in Hollywood, with Bell starring as Carol Solomon, the daughter of Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), a legendary voice over artist. All of the artists live in the shadow of Don La Fontaine, as evidenced by the opening credits faux newsreel about his death. An aspiring voice over artist herself, Carol makes a living as an accent and vocal coach, though she longs for the big leagues. While Sam cares about Carol, he’s also egotistical and selfish, and doesn’t hold back about telling her that the industry isn’t ready for a female sound, and he doesn’t hesitate to kick her out of the house so his Midwestern chippie girlfriend (Alexandra Holden) can move in.

Carol lands on the couch of her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law Moe (Rob Corddry) and continues to plug away at the local sound studio, coaxing Eva Longoria (as herself) through the tricky vowels of a Cockney accent. The studio staff and engineers, headed up by Louis (Demetri Martin), Cher (Tig Notaro), and Nick Offerman in a sequined fedora, can’t stand the pompous upstart Gustav Warner (Ken Marino doing his best sleazeball, which is the gold standard of sleazeball) and are only so happy to have Carol record his temp track for a trailer voice over, which allows her to snag the gig.

Lake Bell, In A World

From there on, it’s a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, as Carol is seduced by Gustav at a party, without his knowing that she’s the “broad” who stole his gigs, or that she’s the daughter of his sauna buddy Sam, who has anointed him as his heir apparent. When the opportunity to resurrect the phrase “in a world...” for the trailer of "The Amazon Games" (a perfect send up of the multi-part post-apocalyptic fantasy series) comes up, it’s an all-out war between Carol, Sam and Gustav for the job.

Bell is winning as the hapless but determined Carol, her physical comedy skills a gift in a performance that is almost entirely lacking in vanity (her wardrobe of baby doll dresses and overalls is amazing). She has real familial chemistry with both Watkins and Corddy, and finds a loving and authentic father-daughter tension with Melamed, who is excellent. As the sort of dueling love interests, Marino and Martin sort of just play themselves, not really stretching outside of their respective and well-worn wheelhouses, though Marino is allowed to be much smarter than his boneheaded beefcakes usually are, and it’s nice to see him stretch in a more cunning role.

Demitri Martin, In A World
While the film is hysterical, its real strength lies in the way it is able to deal with an issue like sexism in the industry and work it out in a funny, honest and very real way. There’s an interesting moment at the end of the film, where Geena Davis tells Carol why she was chosen for the 'Amazon Games' gig. While we’re used to Hollywood telling us that everything is a meritocracy and the person who does the best wins, Davis simply lays out that Carol was chosen because she’s a woman, and her voice on that trailer will be more powerful than anything else the pseudo-feminist 'Amazon Games' could tell little girls. It’s a refreshing acknowledgement of the inequalities that do exist in the world and that sometimes we need to give someone an extra boost because they don’t have it as easy as the others do.

It’s also an interesting film in the way that it deals with the female voice, so often a complicated presence in cinema, a force that both denies and disciplines its power. A minor subplot about Carol’s imitations of the Kardashian-esque Valley girl twang that has infected our young female population is funny, sure, but it’s more than that. She organizes a vocal coaching school for these young lasses, and decidedly says that instead of sounding like asking questions, they should make a statement. It’s a powerful note to end on, and a strong statement that Bell manages to do with her film. Here’s to looking for more from her. [A-]

This article is related to: Lake Bell, In A World..., Reviews, Review, Los Angeles Film Festival, Demetri Martin, Fred Melamed, Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates