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So, ‘In A World’, a low budget comedy about the not so competitive Hollywood voiceover business. “In A World” was the catchphrase of the late great Don Lafontaine, cinemas most famous movie trailer continuity artist. You have all heard his work. But you may not know much about Lake Bell, who writes, directs and stars here to keep the bills down. Her resume reads of a mediocre career of television and the odd movie appearance there and she seems to have turned her hand to writing and directing to get more work and leverage in the industry, a but like her character in the movie who decides its about time women did those movie trailer intros. The Amazonia beauty is clearly multi talented and that skill of doing all three disciplines means you are not only more attractive to producers but you can write yourself into a movie you really want to do. That seems to be the way low budget films are going, like the way rich racing drivers have to bring sponsorship and family money to Formula 1 teams to get a seat.
Bell, states, there are almost no notable film trailers with female voice-overs, except for Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), which used a lady called Melissa Disney. If you think about it, that’s probably true. Bell had been intrigued/irritated by the "omniscient" male voice behind film trailers. This inspired her to write a story in which a female protagonist sought to overcome this prejudice, resulting in her feature-length writing, directing, and producing debut.
Gruff voiced Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed) is known as "king of voice-overs". As well as a recently published autobiography he is about to receive a lifetime achievement award upon turning 60. His geeky but pretty daughter, Carol Solomon (Lake Bell), is a struggling vocal coach who has always been overshadowed by her father, currently trying to overdub Cameron Diaz dreadful cockney accent for the beauties latest movie. But dad wants some space so to move his sexy 30-year-old girlfriend Jamie (Alexandra Holden) in and so kicks Carol out of the family home, Carol older than Jamie and so awkward. He doesn’t appreciate his talented daughter enough.
Carol decides to live with her older sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and her husband Moe (Rob Corddry) in their small apartment. Dani is a concierge in a hotel where Carol likes to annoy her by recording the guest voices on her Dictaphone for work. There is a big job going in the voiceover business to do the trailer for The Amazon Games and Carol wants to break the rules and go for it, normally an all male reserve in Hollywood, Carol boosted by getting the trailer for Jungle Jim, the first female voiceover in Hollywood for three years. Dad is also going for The Amazon Games, as is handsome up and coming voice over star Gustav Warner (Ken Marino). The job is special as it will see the return of the line ‘In a world’ after the phrase was retired in tribute to the death of Lafontaine.
As neither know each other are going for the job professional jealousies are held at bay. Carol doesn’t want dad to know she is up for it and dad wants to help Gustav take over his crown as the new voiceover king, unbecomingly belittling his daughter chances of the job in the process. Things are complicated further when the sisters get involved in some sexual shenanigans and the female emancipation lark begins to take its toll on the girls, writing their own romcom with their antics that may also need a voice over one-day.
This is certainly a film that was worth making and has some gentle giggles about the sexist world of male voiceovers but like sports commentary it’s something that should remain baritone male for me. A woman voicing the Terminator 5 trailer is like a woman doing a live Premier League commentary, a big shrill no no. But Lake Bell found an unexplored bespoke Hollywood niche comedy topic and went for it. There are slight nibbles at whether attractive intelligent women use their looks and a ditzy voice to get what they want in life and a slight feminist tone to the movie on male chauvinism but most of the time it’s engaging and different. Lake is not a conventional beauty and isn’t as photogenic as other movie stars but that helps to authenticate her role, why she is doing voiceovers, we presume. In the same way X-Factor winners have imperfections because the public pick them, Lake doesn’t have that movie screen presence. But she is a comic actress in the truest sense of the word and carries the movie with great confidence.
It’s not a laugh out loud movie and so subtly in its approach to the humor. It does resort to romantic interest plotlines just to drag it past the 90 minutes and the actual voiceover art is a small part of the movie, very much about the mans world that is Hollywood. I would have liked the humor to have been sharper and the film to have gone down the Larry David route where celebrities do tongue-in-cheek versions of themselves in the film to draw bigger laughs but not to be. It is a low budget affair and you don’t recognize any of the cast and so down to the writing and the actors to entertain you, which they do, to a point. Saying that it just about did enough and I did appreciate the effort Lake Bell put in her movie but not one I will watch again, alas, as it doesn’t quite have that special thing going on this type of subtle comic movies need as the subject matter is not fully exploited to the right level of comic effect. If she was an actual voice over artist it could have been a belter. Good effort though.
I used to have this Channel back in the days when I had an ON Digital receiver (I shall not bore you here with my reasons for ditching it in favour of B Sky B, as these are well documented in other sections - suffice to say, the bloody thing did not work well!). Due to the dog in the manger attitude of Carlton (who happen to be major shareholders in ON digital), the SKY satellite cannot carry ITV, ITV2 or channels from the Carlton stable such as Carlton Select. Basically, it is a poor man's version of UK Gold and Granada Plus, but without the back catalogue of those two better established organisations (and it shows!). The only thing I miss is Soldier, Soldier - and that has since turned up on the Living channel!