In a World explores the rampant sexism that exists in one of Hollywood’s least glamorous industries: The Voice-Over Industry. Triple threat Lake Bell wrote, directed, and starred in this summer sleeper, which has a perfect blend of realism, humor, and heart. The film won best screenplay at Sundance earlier this year and it’s a welcome respite from the summer blockbuster doldrums.
Carol Solomon (Lake Bell) is a thirty-something young woman, who still lives with her father and does freelance vocal coaching. Her father, Sam Soto (Fred Melamed), is one of the top three movie trailer voice-over artists. When Sam announces to his daughter that his much younger girlfriend, Jamie (Alexandra Holden), is moving in and Carol must move out by that evening, Carol is forced to crash at her sister’s place and figure out how to make ends meet. A rare opportunity presents itself at the Sir Mix-A-Lot Sound Studio, where Carol works. The number two male voice-over trailer artist, Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) calls in sick and Carol fills in and records his trailer promo. The studio ends up liking her work so much that she finds herself in the running to record the trailer promo for the upcoming mega franchise, Amazon Games. (An obvious dig on The Hunger Games.) The much coveted gig is between Carol, her father Sam, and her recent one-night stand, Gustav, and it will use the three famous trailer words, “In a world…” Carol pursues the opportunity with gusto, as she wants to change the landscape of the male-dominated voice-over industry and also one-up her father, who discounts her talents.
In a World excels in both humor and pacing. The jokes are abundant and Lake Bell uses her powers of observation to get the audience to laugh at the characters’ flaws. The film never hits a snag or bores the viewer with an unnecessary scene.
The film also boasts a strong cast, with the sub-plot revolving around Carol’s sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins), and her husband Moe (Rob Corddry). Lake Bell digs deep into the intricacies of marriage and the temptations that can arise when a couple has forgotten their love for one another. Bell also does a good job at poking fun at one-night stands and exploring the awkwardness of two socially inept people who like one another, through Carol’s relationship with Sound Mixer Louis (Demetri Martin).
There are some fantastic cameos in the film that made me wonder how Lake Bell is so well-connected. Eva Longoria plays herself, except that she royally screwed up a British Cockney accent, and needs Carol to help her re-dub her lines. Cameron Diaz appears in the trailer for Amazon Games, as a fierce girl warrior. (SPOILER ALERT) Geena Davis materializes towards the end of the film, as the studio executive Katherine Huling, who chooses Carol’s voice for the trailer promo for Amazon Games.
Huling (Geena Davis) makes it clear to Carol that she wasn’t picked because her voice was the best. She was chosen because what it means for young girls to hear her voice when they see the trailer. In other words, she won the gig simply because she’s a woman. Carol seems disillusioned when she hears this and disappointed. I saw this twist coming a mile away, but although it was a predictable outcome, I like the fact that Lake Bell turned sexism on its head. Bell shows the viewer to be careful what you wish for; because sometimes you do get what you want, and it’s because of your sex.
In a World is an amazing window into the voice-over industry and speaks volumes on sexism and how it’s so prevalent in the entertainment industry, especially in Hollywood. Lake Bell shines in all three of her roles and leaves the viewer salivating for more. Bell has proven she is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the arena of filmmakers, and it’s not because she’s a woman. It’s because she’s that good.
Take a Drink: every time someone says, “In a world.”
Take a Drink: every time Carol Solomon covertly tape-records someone.
Do a Shot: every time Sam Soto makes out with his girlfriend Jamie. (Trust me, you’ll need it.)