The Movie Waffler New Release Review - In a World | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - In a World

A young movie-trailer voice-over artist competes with her father to land the job of voicing a trailer for the year's biggest movie.

Directed by: Lake Bell
Starring: Lake Bell, Jeff Garlin, Fred Melamed, Rob Corddry, Eva Longoria, Ken Marino, Alexandra Holden, Demetri Martin, Nick Offerman, Geena Davis

Sam Sotto (Melamed) is a giant in the field of movie-trailer voiceovers. His daughter, Carol (Bell), is determined to follow in his footsteps but it's very much a male-dominated business and she receives little encouragement from her father. When she steps in at the last minute to record a temp track, Carol impresses so much she is given the chance to audition for the most sought after voiceover job in Hollywood - narrating the trailer for 'The Amazon Games', the year's most high-profile movie. This throws her into direct competition with both her father and the new golden boy of voiceover, Gustav Warner (Marino).
At a time when movies are getting louder, it's ironic that their trailers are becoming quieter. Trailer narration is very much a dying art, as trailers have become little more than a collection of randomly edited clips accompanied by music. In my childhood, a huge part of the thrill of renting a VHS was the anticipation of the wonderful trailers, so often more entertaining than the films they were advertising, thanks mainly to the magnificent booming voiced narration.
Don LaFontaine, nicknamed "The Voice of God", was the most famous of the trailer narrators, famous for his trademark phrase "In a World...", which he frequently used to open many a narration. He died in 2008, and serves as the inspiration for Lake Bell's debut as writer-director. Her movie is a loving homage to this dying art and is set in something of an alternate universe, where trailers still include narration and the men behind the voices are treated like rock-stars, even attracting groupies.
Set in the lower tiers of the film business, 'In a World' resembles nineties indie comedies like 'Swingers' and 'Free Enterprise'. Like those movies, it's an easygoing, laid back watch, full of charm and likable characters. Bell, wasted in many a "funny best friend" role in bad romantic comedies" proves herself a more than capable comedienne in the Tina Fey mould. Her script is commendably more concerned with provoking consistent grinning than the odd guffaw provided by most recent comedies. The setting never feels like a gimmick in the way it might if this were a mainstream Hollywood comedy starring the likes of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan.
Along with Bell, several great character actors get their chance to shine in larger roles than we're accustomed to seeing them portray. Melamed, a veteran of several Woody Allen films, is brilliant in possibly his most substantial role to date as Carol's self-obsessed, chauvinistic father. Longoria has a hilariously self-deprecating cameo as herself, struggling to pull off a cockney accent for a bad UK gangster movie.
In a world where comedies have become mean spirited and reliant on toilet humor, one woman dares to buck the trend, reminding us how funny and charming a well-written and performed comedy can be.

Eric Hillis