A New Voice – ★★★½
Like a typical woman Lake Bell fairly drags her feet with In A World, she merely wrote, directed, produced and stars in the piece. It concerns the world of the voice-over actor and how it doesn’t seem too keen to embrace change – especially of the female variety. While being hailed as a romantic comedy it’s more a comedy with elements of romance in it.
Bell plays Carol, a voice coach who is the daughter of voice-over man extraordinaire Sam (Fred Melamed). He constantly belittles her attempts to break into voice-over acting and then to top it off kicks her out in order to shack up with his new 30-year-old squeeze. This catapults Carol into her sister’s tiny apartment and sets off a series of events which cause worlds to collide meaning things will never be the same again (I totally could have written voice over copy).
Cue the love interest. Louis (Demetri Martin) hires Carol to help him coach Eva Longoria to do a British accent and, as luck would have it, she gets to stand in on a voice-over. Carol books a few jobs and unwittingly ends up in the running for the hottest gig in town, a chance to utter the words “In a World” made famous by Don LaFontaine. Her main competition is her own Dad and nose enthusiast Gustav (Ken Marino) but with Louis on her side she stands as good a chance as anyone.
The film is an original idea which makes a change, where it shines is in the smaller characters. Tig Notaro, Nick Offerman and Stephanie Allynne all do a stellar job in delivering witty one liners and exact comic timing. The relationship between Lake and her onscreen sister played by Michaela Watkins is pitch perfect. There is no doubting Lake can write with the only failing that there are too many strands. It’s an ensemble piece which ultimately dilutes the main characters down. This leads to over simplistic and unbelievable solutions to quite complicated and layered problems.
An enjoyable outing with a healthy balance of cliches and novelty, In A World is a rare thing, a film written and directed by a women. It is even rarer in that we are given realistic believable characters and a empowering message. More please.
Released in Ireland on September 13th on limited release (Cineworld & IFI)