Rated: R for language including some sexual references. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 9, 2013 Released by: Roadside Attractions
Actress Lake Bell (No Strings Attached, Over Her Dead Body) makes an auspicious debut behind the camera from the standpoint of voice-over artistry in show business.
The tyro helmer also stars as vocal coach Carol, as well as produces and writes In A World... which also features Fred Melamed, Demetri Martin (Taking Woodstock), Ken Marino, Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins giving the impression of how vibrantly she connects and feels for the material.
In a relatively short time the filmmaking can dig deep humorously in ragged strokes to unearth even some effective drama through a roster known for the lively and risible. It all helps that Bell has wisely concocted a script that plays like a 'behind-the-scenes' but with very watchable, well-developed folks, making the most of nearly every frame making for a frank, yet farcically grounded tale.
Here, Carol's renowned dad Sam (Melamed) has taken a back-seat to the late "in a world" Don LaFountaine for much of his career but now gets to bring back the eponymous trailer using his cocky protege Gustav (Marino) for a four-part new sweeping studio foray. However, some of the projects' backers learn that Carol (with her angelic sounds) may very well be a more ideal choice for the much-anticipated project.
Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Watkins are Carol's brother-in-law and sister whose marriage could be in a better place that could keep Carol more focused. Sam feels content with moving in with slutty younger-than-Carol paramour (Alexandra Holden) while about to be recognized for his longevity and hard work at the Golden Trailer Award. In A World... knows how life can be cliche and thorny and is rounded out here with amusing visual and verbal panache all of which probably couldn't be really acknowledged on an initial viewing.
Carol is determinedly Bell's most delightful character to date allowing much breathing room for the other players to shine in almost unintentional, yet playful fashion. The actress-turned-director even gives her own friends like Eva Longoria and Cameron Diaz brief instances to prompt laughter while letting one into the competitive, sexist nature of business that extends among generations. It looks like subjects and relationships are handled with ease and cleverly spiked through distraction and misunderstanding to make for a screwy exploration wittier than expected. Something like In A World... could have churned out touchy-feyly sentiment and all too snarky, smarmy pretentious adult cinema baggage but it's always saved by the keen eye and voice of Bell.
|In A World...||B+||B+|