In a World... (R)

Drama 93 August 9, 2013
By Stephanie Zacharek
In the world of In a World ..., the directing debut of preternaturally understated comic actress Lake Bell, voiceover work-- specifically the authoritative yet anonymous man-speak heard in movie trailers-- is a field in which women aren't welcome. Bell, who also wrote the script, plays Carol, an underemployed vocal coach who aspires to be a voiceover star like her callous, egomaniac father, Sam (Fred Melamed). She isn't just your garden-variety underachiever; Carol is so underachieving that, at age 31, she hasn't changed her wardrobe since the 1990s. It's one of the movie's subtle oddball touches that Bell's Carol, a tall drink of water if ever there was one, strides around unselfconsciously-- and a little cluelessly-- in overalls and college-kid babydoll dresses. But even if she's a neurotic goofball, she’s persistent. And with the help of smart but bashful sound engineer Louis (Demetri Martin), who harbors a crush on her, she scrambles to the top of the voiceover heap-- only to earn the resentment of key players in the field, most notably her nasty old dad. Bell has made a lively, modern screwball comedy with a terrible title; the dialogue moves fast and sometimes takes nutty, unexpected loops, like puppies scrambling over one another in a basket. Bell, who has so often played second or third banana (in pictures like It's Complicated and No Strings Attached), makes a strangely fetching leading woman. The romance between Carol and Louis takes forever to get cooking-- their mutual awkwardness is today's equivalent of a bundling board. But it's also part of their charm as a couple-in-training; their respective peculiarities fit together just right.
Lake Bell Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Rob Corddry, Alexandra Holden, Nick Offerman, Geena Davis, Stephanie Allynne Lake Bell Lake Bell, Mark Roberts, Jett Steiger, Eddie Vaisman Roadside Attractions

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