I have a soft spot for independent comedies, especially when there’s a female lead, so In a World has been on my radar for close to a year. Thanks to living with a toddler, we just got around to watching it about a week ago.
In a World stars Lake Bell, who also wrote, directed, and co-produced the film. She plays Carol Solomon, a vocal coach wanting to break into the voice-over industry, where her father is the reigning king of epic trailer narration. She’s an underachiever still living at home, and it becomes clear pretty early on that part of her arrested development is due to the relationship between her dad and her. He believes Carol is wasting her time trying to break into trailer voice-over–it is a man’s game, after all–and when she becomes a contender for the first trailer to use the “In a world…” opening line since the death of Don LaFontaine, the man best known for those words, her father actively pursues thwarting her bid. (Whatta douche.)
So at the heart, this is a story about fathers and daughters, but that’s only a part of the whole. There’s a touch of romantic comedy between Carol and a friend who works at the recording studio she frequents. There’s mistaken identity mishaps and awkwardness between Carol and another voice-over artist up for the big trailer. There’s marital strife and reconciliation between Carol’s sister and her husband. There’s even a touch of flat-out feminism in there–if Carol can land the trailer, she might change the industry.
And all of this is wrapped in good deal of funny. The supporting cast alone should give an idea: Ken Marino (The State, Burning Love), Demetri Martin (Taking Woodstock, The Rocker), Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec, 21 Jump Street), Rob Cordry (Childrens Hospital, The Daily Show), and Tig Notaro (stand up). These comedian-actors bounce off each other marvelously.
Like Safety Not Guaranteed, the success of this film comes, I think, from building a specific, contained world in which these oddballs can bounce off of each other. In addition, this world of voice-over narration is a quirky venue that adds another layer of interest and charm to the film.
If you also like the occasional indie com, throw this in your queue for the next date night.