October 3, 2013

Movie Review: In A World...

In a world.... Everyone knows those famous words. You probably even read them using a movie trailer voice in your head. What you may not know is the name of the man who made those words famous, the biggest name in the voice over game, Don La Fontaine. He passed away a few years ago, but left a lasting mark on Hollywood. His legacy is also the jumping off point for a movie that takes those words for its own. In A World... is the writing/directing debut for actress Lake Bell, who also stars.

Lake Bell stars as Carol Solomon, a vocal coach with a desire to break into the movie trailer game. The problem is that the game is dominated by her father, Sam (Fred Melamed), and up and coming eccentric Gustav (Ken Marino). It is an uphill battle as the business is ale dominated and, as her father says, doesn't want a female voice.

In addition to her voice over aspirations, there is her quirky desire to collect accents, her sister and her husband and their marital issues, the affection for afar from the vocal studio producer, and the inadvertent relationship between Carol and Gustav. There are a lot of little things on and while this helps add to what makes the movie so enjoyable, it also detracts from the whole with the many shifts in tone and none of them ever gaining traction.

There is an interesting look at the role of women in Hollywood and how relationships can turn on themselves as people stab their friends and family in the back. Unfortunately, the tone ships from goofy comedy, to family drama, to business drama, to comedy and back and forth. It kind of takes away from the momentum of the movie, making it feel a bit more like a tv pilot.

Still, there is one thing that always works in this movie. That one thing is Lake Bell. It is a solid, compete, and likable for a debut feature. It is hard not to like it, even when it isn't working. Her performance is very good. It is as if she understands more about what the scene requires in front of the camera than at the keyboard. That sounds worse Han it is, but she seems at home in this role, moving between the serious and the silly and making us car about her success.

I like the movie, really, I do. It is funny, has likable characters, unlivable characters, and a story that more or less works. Sure, I wish the surrounding characters were more than one dimensional sitcom-styled creations, but that lead is worth the price of admission and I look forward to further efforts from Lake Bell.


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