LAKE BELL ROB CORDDRY KEN MARINO FRED MELAMED DEMETRI MARTIN MICHAELA WATKINS
IN A WORLD…
You can argue that there are few lead roles for women at the cinema this summer, and it’s true; but writer, director and actor Lake Bell has added something very unique and creative to alter a fragment of that statistic. In A World took home the best screenplay award this year at Sundance and it’s not hard to see why. Taking a hilarious look into the world of voice over actors, Bell has written a timely and honest story about women struggling to take jobs that are universally thought of as male roles. Bell, who for years has taken supporting roles in forgotten films like No Strings Attached or It’s Complicated, shows us what she is capable of here.
Carol Soloman (Bell) desperately wants to follow in her iconic father's voice over footsteps, but king of the movie trailer Sam Soto (Melamed) himself tells her “the industry does not crave a female sound”. However, after booking a Sunny D commercial and a few other resume boosting voice overs, Carol is considered for the upcoming quadrilogy about female Amazon warriors. Her father comes out of retirement to challenge his own daughter for the movie trailer that will resurrect the famous “In a world…” dialogue.
Lake Bell has created one of the smartest scripts this year; it’s funny, charming and she makes statements on married life, dating and women in the industry with the right amount of fun and importance. There are really genuine little moments that I adored sprinkled throughout the film; for instance, when Carol records her sister’s confession, the clever sleeping pill line she gives to her “coach” or even smaller things that Bell gives each character to make them resonate like real people instead of characters on a page.
Using well known actresses in cameo roles like Eva Longoria, Geena Davis and even Cameron Diaz only add to the strength (and the message) of the film. There are a lot of subplots that slightly subtract to the more crucial main plot between Carol and her father. However, the most important one is the side job of vocal coaching Carol does to help young women talk like women instead of “squeaky toys”. It’s no coincidence that Bell chose Diaz, Longoria and Davis to appear in the film, as they all have very powerful and important sounding voices (not to mention they have co-starred with Bell in the past). I hope Bell continues to write and direct, promoting and delivering unique and original roles for women that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Final Thought – Bell deliver’s something truly interesting, insightful and entertaining.
By: Dustin Chase
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
In a World… is Lake Bell, to a great extent, as she is the writer, director, producer, and star of this comedy with a heart. She has put together a film about a somewhat obscure subject, which increases its interest. Normally, we don’t think much about the people who do voice-overs, so using that as a subject is something novel. Moreover, the name of the film is so apt in its reference to a significant, easily recognizable voice to most people. Since father passing down his art to his daughter—however reluctantly—is the main theme, family relationships are a part of the plot as well. Watching it seems a bit Neil Simon-esque in the beginning, in the fast-paced repartee, awkward moments, and all secrets coming out in the open. Since I am not a fan of Simon, dialog is slightly grating for me, especially in the first part of the film. As real feelings began to come out and conversations are less glib, the story improves.
Actors are well cast, and Lake Bell as Carol is entirely convincing. Fred Melamed, who plays her father Sam, is especially good at being the self-focused, somewhat macho father, who clearly wishes one of his daughters could have been a son. His quote from his own father about Sam not ever surpassing him is the main pivot of the film. This film is also about gender roles, and It is refreshing to see a stepmother figure portrayed as a complex woman whose efforts are to bring a wounded family together rather than exploit their schisms, a tired attribute in most characterizations of stepmothers. Another strong point of the film is the relationship between Carol and Louis (Demetri Martin), which is out of the usual mold, and is actually the most interesting connection in the film.
I think Lake Bell has great potential to become a major filmmaker who can offer much from the female point of view and in the naturalistic, creative way in which she expresses herself in writing, acting, and directing. She was awarded the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance for In a Worl…, and the film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the dramatic category. In addition to this work, she has directed episodes of “Children’s Hospital” on television, in which she is also the star.