In a World...
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that In a World... is an indie comedy about the world of Hollywood voiceover artists. Actress Lake Bell (Over Her Dead Body, TV's Childrens Hospital) makes her feature writing and directing debut, with some empowering messages for women to go along with her witty humor. Language is perhaps the biggest issue, with fairly frequent use of strong words ("f--k," "s--t," "c--t," etc.). Though no nudity or sex is actually shown, it's strongly implied, and innuendo/sexual references are heavy. The main character sleeps with a man she meets at a party before getting together with her true romantic love interest. Adult characters drink casually, drugs are mentioned, and some products (Sunny Delight) are named. There's no violence, except for some family arguing.
What's the story?
After the death of the great (and real-life) movie trailer voiceover artist Don LaFontaine, the playing field is leveled. Sam Soto (Fred Melamed) and the younger Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) hope to resurrect LaFontaine's famous "in a world..." phrase for a new trailer for a high-profile, Hunger Games-like epic. But Sam's daughter, Carol (Lake Bell), a voice coach working with Eva Longoria, throws her hat in the ring, too, stirring up family tensions as well as romantic ones. Carol gets caught between Gustav and kind, nerdy sound engineer Louis (Demetri Martin). To make matters worse, Carol's sister (Michaela Watkins) is having troubles with her husband (Rob Corddry). Will Carol get the job and set things right again?
Is it any good?
Bell makes a very promising feature writing and directing debut with IN A WORLD..., pulling herself out of mediocre movie parts by her own bootstraps. As a performer, she's spot-on, simultaneously goofy, charming, witty, slightly damaged, and yet sympathetic. Her screenplay hangs in there from sheer will alone, juggling many different subplots and themes, somehow keeping them all in the air.
As a director, her best aspect is this juggling act; she gives her actors plenty to do and keeps things moving at a good clip, while beautifully rendering the microcosm of the voiceover world. On paper there might just be one too many romantic or job-related crises, but she adds some easy one-liners or some extra beats, and things never get too hectic. And when Bell finally gets the chance to slip in some good, strong ideas, she does so with ease and grace. You just want to cheer for her.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about In a World...'s attitude toward sex. Does Carol's casual treatment of sleeping with someone impact how you feel about her? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- What are some of the movie's messages for women? Does it matter that the main character is so flawed? Could Bell be considered a role model for women?
- Were you familiar with Bell before seeing In a World...? What kinds of things did she get to do in this movie that she didn't (or couldn't) in her other movies (or TV shows)? How did she take advantage of being a writer and a director?
- What did you learn about voiceovers and voice acting from this movie?