Parkland Press

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lake Bell in 'World' of her own

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"In A World ... "

You may have heard that phrase, intoned by Don LaFontaine at the beginning of movie previews, or trailers, as they are known.

LaFontaine, who died in 2008, was dubbed "the voice of God" for his recordings of more than 5,000 film trailers, and thousands of television commercials, network promotions and video game trailers.

LaFontaine parodied his own career in TV commercials for Geico Insurance and the "Mega Millions" lottery game.

Footage of LaFontaine opens "In A World ... ," a funny and insightful fictional film written and directed by actor Lake Bell that is set in the little-known world of the Hollywood voiceover business.

Bell, in her big screen directorial and screenwriting debut, is best-known for her roles on TV's "Boston Legal" (2004 - '06) and "Children's Hospital" (2008 - '13) and in the movies "No Strings Attached" (2011), "It's Complicated" (2009) and "What Happens in Vegas" (2008).

Bell stars as Carol, an aspiring female voiceover artist and daughter of Sam (Fred Melamed), the reigning king of voiceovers who is dating Jamie (Alexandra Holden), a woman his daughter's age.

The voiceover business is portrayed as male-dominated. Carol scores with key voiceover gigs, including a trailer for the fictional "The Amazon Women," a quadrilogy that's one more sequel than a triology in the vein of "The Hunger Games."

Carol competes with Gustav (Ken Marino), heir-apparent voiceover king, and her father, in auditioning for the coveted gig. She's coached by her friend, Louis (Demetri Martin), a recording studio engineer.

The subplot is about Bell's sister Danik (Michaela Watkins) and her marital difficulties with Moe (Rob Corddry).

"In A World ... " is a quirky comedy with twentysomething characters whose neuroses make the characters in a Woody Allen comedy seem non-neurotic.

In the role as Carol, Lake Bell has a beguiling, nervous energy that is all fluttery hands, jerky body movements and shifty eyes, punctuated by inappropriately over-the-top smiles and snarky remarks.

In small roles are stand-up comedian Tig Notario, Geena Davis and Eva Longoria (as herself).

The screenplay, which received the top prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, has rapid-fire dialogue, some of which seems improvised, and nice character development arcs for the featured roles.

The soundtrack is bristling with great songs, including Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down The Line" and Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule The World," each of which augments the plotline.

"In A World ... " has an uplifting message, which is not overly emphasized, about how tone, ennunciation and pronunciation can help or hinder a woman in business and social settings.

Bell is critical of "the sexy-baby vocal virus affecting a generation of women." Baritone-voiced women rule.

"In a World ... "

It's one of the late summer's surprising finds at the cinema. Don't miss it.

"In A World ... ," MPAA rated R (Restricted. Children Under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian) for language including some sexual references; Genre: Comedy; Run time: 1 hour, 33 min.; Distributed by Roadside Attractions.

Credit Readers Anonymous: "In A World ..." recording studio scenes were filmed at The Legendary Marc Graue Voice Over Studios, Burbank, Calif.

Box Office, Sept. 13: "Insidious Chapter 2" was undaunted by paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th), opening at No. 1 with an impressive $41 million, keeping "The Family" opening at No. 2, with only $14.5 million, and pushing "Riddick" from No. 1 to No. 3, $7 million, $31.2 million, two weeks:

4. "Lee Daniels' The Butler," $5.5 million, $100 million, five weeks; 5. "We're The Millers," $5.4 million, $131.6 million, six weeks; 6. "Instructions Not Included," $4.2 million; $26.5 million, three weeks; 7. "Planes," $3 million, $82.9 million, six weeks; 8. "One Direction: This Is Us," $2.4 million, $26.8 million, three weeks; 9. "Elysium," $2 million, $88.3 million, six weeks; 10. "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," $1.8 million, $62 million, six weeks; 33. "In A World ... ." $309,000, $2 million, six weeks

Unreel, Sept. 20:

"Prisoners," R: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Melissa Leo star in a crime-thriller about a father who becomes a vigilante in an attempt to locate his missing six-year-old daughter.

"Battle of the Year," PG-13; An international dance team contest is the storyline for the musical starring Chris Brown, Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Josh Peck and Caity Lotz

Read Paul Willistein's movie reviews at the Lehigh Valley Press web site, lehighvalleypress. com; the Times-News web site,; and hear them on "Lehigh Valley Art Salon," 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, WDIY 88.1 FM, Email Paul Willistein: pwillistein@