Let the 'finding your voice' word play begin!
Did you know there has only been once movie trailer that features a female voiceover? It was for the Angelina Jolie-Nicolas Cage car heist Gone in Sixty Seconds back in 2000. That's a pretty ridiculous stat, is it not? The voice in the Sixty Seconds trailer seems disconnected too, as if she's only supposed to sound like a sexy machine. But don't be sexier than the cars! Make sure the cars and Jolie are the sexiest thing in the trailer!
The world of voiceover acting is the subject of Lake Bell's delightful comedy, In a World.... Bell stars as Carol Solomon, a voice over coach who live in the shadow of her father, Sam Soto (Fred Melamed), the god of movie voiceovers. The movie is partly an unofficial love letter to the late Don LaFontaine, the icon who was associated with coining the famous "In a world" phrase for movie trailers. LaFontaine's story plays during the opening credits.
Sam continually tells his daughter that the industry does not "crave a female sound," but Carol begins picking up side jobs as a voiceover artist. She primarily works as a voice coach to actors, and there is an amusing subplot where she helps Eva Longoria with her Cockney dialect as a mob wife in some dreadful upcoming film. When another voice actor, Gustav Warner (Ken Marino), gets sick and loses a job, Carol fills in at the last minute, and people start noticing Carol's unique voice.
As Carol begins collecting gigs, it is announced that the underground "In a world" competition has been resurrected to see who will voice the material for a The Amazon Games, a female warrior period piece that is a hilarious nod to the Suzanna Collins Hunger Games trilogy.
I noticed that I don't like a lot of the actors in World, but I liked them a lot within the confines of this movie. Bell (pulling quadruple duty as director, writer, producer, and star) may have found another track in her career. Carol is relatable and awkwardly charming. There is a funny running gag that she is trying to compile different accents for her archive, so when she hears an uncommon voice, she whips out her voice recorder and tries to record them as casually as she can.
Her romantic interest is Louis (Demetri Martin), a sound operator at the recording studio where she works. I don't find his stand up comedy funny in the slightest, but I find him charming in feature films--especially this. He and Bell bounce off each other with adorable verve. Michaela Watkins plays Carol's sister Dani, and she has an a separate subplot dealing with a marital crisis that gets resolved probably too quickly in the film. But I liked it just the same.
In a World... isn't just a female empowerment film, it's about all sorts of people finding their own voice. By the end, all of the lead characters have found an appreciation of a new path for themselves. Bell has done very well for herself in her directorial debut. It's a smart little movie that deserves to be seen. And heard.