A big part of the cinematic experience for me has been the trailers before a film. Everything from the cheesy voice overs to the over-the-top ways some films are sold just makes me feel at home whilst watching a film. That's why it's always been surprising that there haven't been more films focusing on the trailer side of the film industry. Now though, with In A World, we get a great look at the trailer voice over industry in a film that really establishes Lake Bell as a writing/directing/acting talent to watch in the future.
The plot of the film concerns Carol, the daughter of one of the most famous trailer voice over artists in history, who is trying to make her mark in the male dominated voice over world. When she gets lucky and replaces an up-and-coming voice over talent for a trailer for a kids film, she finds herself rising up the voice over ranks until she is asked to do the voice over for a major young adult action set of films, with this also bringing her dad back into the game to show that women are not ready to do this job. A lot of the film is dealing with the sexist undercurrents of voice overs, especially since 99.9% of all voice overs in trailers are done by men and Lake Bell's script makes it clear that this sexist view doesn't fit with the 21st Century. It also helps that all of this stuff is really funny and a really sharp look at the voice over world. There are other elements of the plot including the relationship between Carol's sister and her husband, the growing relationship between Carol and Louis, a fellow worker at her recording studio and some really funny stuff making fun of the really annoying voices that some people have, but also never letting you forget that these voices can have harmful effects for these people in the real world. All of this stuff is incredibly well written and there is enough of a mix between the drama and the comedy to make it feel really believable.
A major factor for this believability is how good the cast is. Something that I have to say beforehand is that, whilst these people may be more familiar in America, I am unfamiliar with virtually the entire main cast. In fact, the only person in the main cast who I've seen in something before this is Rob Corddry, who I really like as an actor. That said, the brilliance of the performances throughout the film makes me want to seek out some more stuff the cast have done. Lake Bell is excellent as Carol. Her drive to do well in the voice over field and also help other people with their voices is clear from the first scene, along with the very awkward nature of the character as a whole and the absurd habits, mainly recording random people with a tape recorder to get some funny accents. The interactions she has with the rest of the cast are excellent as well, mainly with Demetri Martin as Louis, who is suitably awkward throughout the film but never lets you forget just how much he cares about Carol. Michaela Watkins and Rob Corddry are also excellent as Carol's sister Dani and her husband Moe respectively. Whilst Watkins gives more of a straight performance, Corddry is really funny whenever he's on screen through his mannerisms but he's also gives a really good dramatic performance later on in the film, which is helped by a great chemistry he shares with Watkins. On a comedic level, the standouts are Fred Melamed who is hilarious as Sam, showing just how much of an egotistical, sexist he is and relishing just how absurd the lengths Sam will go to to get the job are. He gives all the best line deliveries and the best physical comedy in the film and the way he interacts with Bell is excellent. There are also really funny performances from Ken Marino, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, Melissa Disney, Alexandra Holden and Talulah Riley. If there's one downside to the cast (and I know this is an incredibly minor downside/going into nitpicking territory) it's that I wish there were more voice actors in the film as, aside from Melissa Disney and the constant references to voice over legend Don LaFontaine, there aren't any other voice over actors and I'd have loved to have seen people like Rob Paulsen, Grey DeLisle, Kevin Conroy, Tres MacNellie, Frank Welker etc in the film, although that probably would have taken attention away from the main plot of the film.
Overall, In A World is a brilliant, biting, witty look at the trailer voice over scene. The framing of the film from a female point of view is excellent, highlighting the inherent sexism in the trailer voice over market, the performances are excellent, especially Lake Bell and Fred Melamed and I'm really looking forward to seeing what Lake Bell will do next, she is a real writing/directing/acting triple threat and one to watch in the future.
My Rating: 5/5