Sunday, September 15, 2013

In A World (Brockway)

In a World

Actor turned director Lake Bell (Boston Legal) offers an entertaining window into a realm that most of us might not be conscious of---the stresses and struggles  of the voiceover artist: those often anonymous yet invaluable talents that give personality and flavor to countless films, trailers and TV commercials. The film "In a World" illustrates the efforts of women to be successful and respected in the male dominated field of film and television voice work.

Lake Bell stars as Carol, a pale and quirky professional known for her accents and pop culture catchphrases. Her employment is sketchy and she has all but given up on landing the big high-visibility spots. She supplements her expenses by being a coach to the likes of Eva Longoria, who can't voice a cockney pirate to save her life.

To complicate matters, Carol is stifled in her career by her hulking, egotistical and hirsute father Sam Soto, excellently played by Fred Melamed (A Serious Man) who has taken the Almighty mantle passed onto him by the late voice-master Don LaFontaine shown at the start of the film.

Sam is a Goya giant, stomping about in a booming baritone, endlessly patronizing Carol's endeavors. He sees his daughter as a lazy slacker with unrealistic expectations who doesn't apply herself in lucrative directions, specifically stereotypical accents. Sam wants his daughter out of the house as his Barbie-like ego-stroking girlfriend (Alexandra Holden) is moving in.

Shocked, Carol takes refuge with her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and husband (The Daily Show's Rob Corddry).

Through a random job regarding the casting disaster of Eva Longoria and goaded by the persistent admiration of the nerdy Louis (Demetri Martin), Carol gets a job in a blockbuster sci-fi film based on "The Hunger Games". This inflames the anger of Sam, who is in cahoots with Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) a kind of Cruisean evangelist of sound, who thinks he is this century's God's Voice.

Every part is harmonic in this film with no one actor overwhelming the other. This is a genuine ensemble Indie. The comedy is black laced and sincerely madcap. Corddry and Martin are authentic and laugh out loud funny. Corddry plays a sex-obsessed hermit while Martin is a hesitant, manipulative, yet well meaning square.

Melamed for his part plays a penultimate prick with great gusto and freewheeling fire in a performance that rivals any political incorrectness delivered by Larry David or Ricky Gervais.

The most enjoyable thing about "In a World", is that it doesn't pander or ridicule. Although zany, its story is no cartoon. The jokes are not transparent, cheap, or vinyl-thin. This is dark humor with heart. Lake Bell is pointed with her laughs. Better yet, she has the courage to deliver a punchy sourball ending that goes against genre but isn't bitter, it merely describes the state of sound, as is.

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1 comment:

Nancy Klingener said...

Love your description of the dad -- "hulking, egotistical, and hirsute" -- perfect!