In A World…
Disappointing satire set in the world of movie voiceovers, with a great cast but overloaded plot
The movie trailer voiceover business seems like a source of rich comic potential: who hasn’t at some point speculated about the working lives of the guys (because it is, invariably, guys) who do trailer voiceovers? Lake Bell, the writer, director and star of this industry-insider comedy has hit on that thought, but distinctly fails to mine it for all the funny it’s worth.
Bell plays Carol, a Hollywood voice coach who wants to break into the male-dominated world of trailer voiceovers, and seemingly has a foot in the door, being the daughter of pre-eminent voiceover artist Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed). But when Carol enters the running to voice the trailer for blockbusting book adaptation The Amazon Games, she's met with strong opposition from both Sam and his industry heir presumptive, the preening Gustav (Ken Marino).
So far, so promising: sounds like a knowing satire that needles into one of the unacknowledged areas of blatant sexism in the movie industry, right? But, perhaps fearing that isn't a strong enough set-up, Bell adds several sub-plots that dilute the unique central idea to the point that the film ultimately resembles a conventional TV sitcom: lots of good characters, the occasional funny line but no sense of focus, and a story that goes nowhere fast. So Carol has a sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins) who is about to hit a relationship crisis with her husband Moe (Rob Corddry), and there’s a potential love interest for Carol in Louis (Demetri Martin), the awkward recording assistant that she works with. It’s an excellent cast, and Bell can really hit her satirical targets when she wants to – a scene with Sotto and Gustav despairing over the freedom of modern women is great – but such a bland and blunted film feels disappointingly less than the sum of its parts.