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Lake Bell directs and stars in In A World



CAST: Lake Bell, Rob Corddry, Alexandra Holden, Eva Longoria


RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)

Ann Hornaday

Lake Bell is one smart cookie. The tall, gorgeous actress is best known for sexy-funny supporting roles in comedies like What Happens in Vegas and It’s Complicated. But she has much more on the ball than even those spirited turns suggest. And she’s finally given herself the ideal canvas to prove it in In a World… her smart, enjoyable writing-directing debut in which she stars.

Bell plays Carol, a struggling voiceover artist whose career is stymied by a rigid old-boys’ network in the studio and at home by her overbearing father, Sam (Fred Melamed), a famous movie-trailer narrator and contemporary of the late, great Don LaFontaine in his booming, baritone timbre.

The real-life voiceover legend LaFontaine, who died in 2008, is the one who made the phrase “In a world” his own. In Bell’s nervy, fizzily paced story, a studio decides to dust off those three little words for its upcoming “quadrilogy” of Hunger Games – like action dramas about a tribe of Amazonian women vanquishing mutant male savages.

Carol becomes part of the race for that coveted gig, competing with her dad and the reigning king of plummy tones, a wealthy, arrogant guy named Gustav (Ken Marino).

Bell displays a knack for capturing the goofy voiceover subculture (Carol disparages industry parties, which usually consist of “the voice of Cialis hitting on the Virgin Airlines message-on-hold girl”).

Bell also expertly skewers sexism, Hollywood shallowness, anti-Hollywood snobbishness and that thing so many young women are doing now where they talk like Minnie Mouse on helium and end every sentence with a question mark?

“We’re better than that,” Carol tells one such baby-doll-in-heels. She’s right, just as she’s right that the fact that the voice we assume as omniscient carries political baggage.

In another sharply observed scene, an ambiguous encounter with a female senior executive aptly captures the ambiguous inter-generational tension so many young women experience with their pioneering older sisters.

In a World… is a lot of fun, reflecting Bell’s obvious love of piquant paradox and the music of the spoken word. But it also has a sharply observant streak that makes it as nourishing as it is endearingly nutty. – Washington Post

If you liked Enough Said or Blue Jasmine you will like this.

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