REVIEW: Rookie director charms with smart, funny 'World'
Movies about the entertainment industry come with a built-in trap: that there will be too much inside baseball, limiting the appeal to only those who understand the nature of the game.
Lake Bell ups the ante even further with “In a World ...,” her debut feature, which she wrote, directs and stars in. It's set in the world of voice-over artists and never leaves its orbit.
But it's also smart, sharp in all the right places and funny. Beyond that, it's got heart. Even the jerks are OK to be around, at least for a time. And this world seems to be full of them.
Chief among them is Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), a legend in the voice-over world — and the father of Carol Solomon (Bell). The film begins shortly after the death of real-life legend Don LaFontaine, whose catchphrase that kicked off so many movie trailers gives the film its title. (“In a world where nothing is as it seems ... .”)
Carol dreams of doing voice-over work, but it's the ultimate good-old-boys' club, and her father is one of the chief chauvinists.
Word is, a film franchise called “The Amazon Games” (yes, that's a “Hunger Games” jab, only this series is a “quadrilogy”) is going to bring back LaFontaine's famous phrase for the trailer, so all the voice talent in Los Angeles is girding for the gig. Sam would seem to be the odds-on choice, but he's decided he'll get out of the way of the fast-rising Gustav Werner (Ken Marino), an arrogant misogynist, which makes Gustav the perfect person for Sam to take under his wing.
But Carol wants the job, too, even though Sam and Gustav think that's a ridiculous notion. She works up a demo tape with the sweet-natured Louis (Demetri Martin), a sound engineer at the studio where she works as a dialect coach.
There will be ill-advised flings, mistaken identities and more. Bell manages to make the whole thing seem plausible, but, at the same time, broad enough that we can relate. And laugh.
Is it accurate? It hardly matters. The world Bell creates in “In a World ...” is so agreeable and inviting you'll enjoy the visit regardless.
Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic is the chief film critic for Gannett.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh-shot ‘Southpaw’ gets July release
- ‘Yinzer horror’ film doesn’t take legend of Bigfoot too seriously
- DVD reviews: ‘The Boxtrolls,’ ‘The Drop’ and ‘Lucy’
- ‘American Sniper’ astounds with $105.3M over MLK weekend
- Review: Jennifer Aniston dazzles, even if she won’t get an Oscar for ‘Cake’
- Review: ‘Kaguya’ magical, old-style folk tale
- Review: Depp indulges inner clown in charmless ‘Mortdecai’