Carol (Lake Bell), the daughter of a veteran voice-over actor, wants to break into the world so dominated by her father. The simple fact, however, is that this is a man’s game, with very little room for women. When the artist who originated the phrase ‘In a world…’ dies, Carol, her father (Fred Melamed) and rising star Gustav (Ken Marino) battle it out to make the phrase their own.
Lake Bell is an actress who has had small roles in loads of stuff that you have seen, like New Girl, No Strings Attached and ER. In a World… is Bell’s third outing as a writer and director, but her first feature length film, and the good news is Bell is a woman who gets it. In a World… is filled with characters we all know and, while it is easy enough to see where the story will end up, it is told in such a quirky and unusual manner, that it is a delight to watch.
Who knew the world of the voice over was such a tough and competitive one? Bell has taken a world (sorry) that we are all aware of – that of the epic movie trailer – and crafted it into a story that resonates with the audience. As Carol, Bell herself is the kind of character the audience can relate to; she has her goals figured out, bit it seems the world is out to stop her from achieving them. Carol is sweet and warm and, although she makes some questionable decisions, this is part of what allows the audience to relate to her character.
Elsewhere, Fred Melamed, as Carols’ father Sam, is a man with a fantastic voice whose career is slipping as his midlife crisis takes hold, Ken Marino is just the sneaky womanising slime ball that is to be expected from someone who is slithering his way to the top. Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins play Carol’s brother in law and sister, respectively, who she turns to when her life falls apart, without realising her actions could cause trouble between the couple. Nick Offerman turns up briefly as do Cameron Diaz and Eva Longoria.
Taking on the triple roles of writer, director and star is sure to have been a challenge for Bell, but she manages all three beautifully, as Carol, she is the warm heart of the film, her script is effortlessly funny and quirkily heartwarming and she coaxes the best from her cast as they negotiate the perils of breaking into a seemingly closed industry. The laughs come from the characters’ awkwardness and snappy one-liners, as well as the ridiculous situations they somehow find themselves in. However, the film does run out of steam here and there, and the love story seems a little shoehorned in for the sake of warmth.
In a World… is a brilliant premise for a movie, and is one that pays off. Pitting father against daughter is a great move, and Carol’s world is so familiar yet odd that it is easy for the audience to identify with. With In a World… Lake bell has proven herself a filmmaker to watch, while making audiences laugh, cry and have a think about what goes on behind the scenes of the things we take for granted.