What makes In a World… work for me is a new perspective on material that could potentially be so cliche. Even when it enters long-trod territory we as an audience are able to extend grace to a film that is willing to step out there. The film’s writer and star Lake Bell crafts a story set in the world of movie trailers, where her character, Carol Solomon, looks to make the leap from a vocal coach obsessed with dialects, to a full-fledged trailer narrator. It has the potential for a light, unassuming payoff, for a topic that feels so slight, but In a World… is indubitably rewarding.
It starts with Lake Bell’s Carol, a character who is easy to get behind. Her dad is a highly-acclaimed voice-over artist, who also happens to be a Grade-A jerk. Her sister’s stressed by a hotel concierge job and to have family plopped long-term on her couch is only another annoyance. Moe (Rob Corddry) is probably the most chill of all her relations, and he’s a brother-in-law with an easy-going vibe and a genuine love for his wife. To his credit, Corddry proves he can play roles that an audience can sympathize with.
Besides Carol, the most pivotal character is Louis (Demetri Martin), that slightly awkward, slightly awesome, male love interest, who happens to work in the recording studio with her as a sound engineer. They must go through the cringe-worthy conversations and interactions that are almost a rite of passage for the genre, before finally getting together as they are supposed to. That includes uncomfortable telephone conversations and a very eventful party at the home of trailer champ Gustav Warner. As Carol must navigate her own romantic entanglements, Dani’s marriage to Moe takes a hit when she starts entertaining the advances of another man. It’s in such moments that In a World… sheds its simple layer of humor and gets to something a little more substantial. These are genuine moments involving characters like Dani and Moe who we truly feel for, not to mention Carol and Louis, who both exhibit a refreshing level of earnestness.
As Carol tries to get her big break by beating all her male competition, she continues to get lack of support from her father, until things get real personal. He too decides to audition for the coveted voice-over for the upcoming epic quadrilogy “The Amazon Games.” It pits father against daughter, man versus woman, and the results are more than memorable. For me, Demetri Martin is a standout with his dorky turn, and we get another appearance from perennial indie supporting cast member Nick Offerman, not to mention a cameo from Geena Davis (and Eva Longoria)!