Thursday, March 27, 2014

Movies - In a World ...

I generally tend to like quirky, independent movies. I was definitely predisposed to like this one. Writer/Director Lake Bell plays a voiceover artist looking to follow in her famous father’s footsteps. Her father, a respected and veteran voiceover man, is deathly afraid his career may be on a downward spiral, despite his upcoming Lifetime Achievement Award. I can relate to this film at least in a small way—I used to work in the media and have been told I have a decent voice (and definitely a face for radio ...). I’ve done voiceovers for numerous commericals, corporate videos, promotional TV spots and other things. I’ve stood behind a microphone and know what a fun job it is, so I can relate to the story a bit if not the characters.  
And the problems start with the characters. Lake herself plays Carol, a slutty, scatterbrained airhead who has aspirations of being a top-level voice talent. She comes off as an empty headed, directionless goofball. Her father Sam (Fred Melamed) and his protégé Gustav (the always slimy Ken Marino) are so self-absorbed I’m surprised they even pretend to help each other. Demetri Martin as sound engineer Louis is one of the few likable characters. Louis is so shy he can’t tell Carol how much he likes her, so he tries to help her gain her dream project, doing the voiceover for a new blockbuster movie franchise called “The Amazon Games.” Bell stumbles through the film as both actress and director. Her character would be much improved if she could just finish a sentence, instead of making her character an annoying, distracted mess who has difficulty expressing herself. The dysfunctional dynamic of her family, consisting of Bell, her sister and their father, is a study in who can out-selfish each other. The main plot deals with who will get the job as trailer announcer for “The Amazon Games.” Carol, Sam and Gustav are all in the mix. When the winner is announced, it’s hard to be happy for the victor—each of these characters has done nothing but prove why they shouldn’t have anything good happen to them.

There are some fun moments in the movie—Gustav finding out his mentor has dealt him a well-deserved betrayal, Louis trying to tell Carol he wants to date her while attempting to shield himself from inevitable rejection, and Sam’s groupie girlfriend, hated by his daughters but the best thing to ever happen to him. The film is helped by the plot revolving around a rarely explored aspect of the movie industry, but hurt by the baffling and unlikable characters.

Rating: ** Stars out of 5
Trailer for In a World ...

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