Tuesday, September 03, 2013
When was the last time you heard a female voice over on a trailer for a coming attraction? Okay, let’s go for an easier question like when was the last time you saw a film with a father who is a male chauvinist whose thinks daughters should be seen and not heard? How about an easier question like when was the last time you saw a film starring a person who also, wrote and directed that film? Did you think it was a vanity production or that person couldn’t find anyone better to do any of the 3 jobs or possibly they couldn’t afford to pay someone?
“In The World...” stars Lake Bell as Carol, her debut feature as a writer and director and who has played secondary roles in movies and television. In this film she explores the world of voice overs and the people, mainly men, who make a living at that job. Carol finds herself in competition with her father Sam (Fred Melamed) who has recently taken over the mantle as the man with the best voice after the recent star Don LaFontaine has passed away and Gustav Werner (Ken Marino) his prodigy. Carol, who had been living with her father, has to move in with her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law Gary (Rob Corddry) because dad has moved in his much younger, and supposedly ditzy, girlfriend Jamie (Alexander Holden) while let’s not forget the guy Louis (Demetri Martin) that is pining after Carol and, of course, is the last to know it.
There is no faulting Lake Bell as an actress as she comes across trained to be a loser but endearing to all, including the audience. As the screenplay writer she tries to cover too much ground in a 93 minutes film but it is as a director that she makes too many mistakes with uncalled for dark shots, holding the camera on the wrong person in many scenes and not focusing the story with her actors. There is a lot going on here besides the father-daughters situation, the competition, sister and husband having a marital crisis, Carol getting unnecessarily involved with Gustave, the lack of good jobs for women in an industry that exploits them plus showing Carol giving voice lessons to various actresses including Eva Longoria. It is very seldom that I have seen a bad performance by an actor---hey, I liked Russell Crowe in “Les Miserables”!--in a film and there isn’t one here.
The main fault of “In a World...” is that it takes 90 minutes in a 93 minute film to get to the payoff and getting there is very slow and unfunny though those last 3 minutes are touching.