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In A World... (2013)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/28/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/3/2014
I've written many times before that I consider movies to be escapism, but that doesn't mean that we can't learn things about the real world from them. This is especially true when it comes to careers. I'm not talking about the billions of movies out there about police offices, doctors, or lawyers, but actual unique professions that we don't see everyday. A movie in which a character has an interesting vocation can suddenly seem original, even if the story around that character is cliched. And it really helps if we get an inside look at the world of that job. Such is the case with In A World..., a film which allows us a peek into what is apparently the cut-throat world of voiceover work.
In A World... opens with news stories about the passing of real-life voiceover actor Don LaFontaine, the man who became famous for his work on movie trailers which often began with the words, "In a world..." We then meet Carol Solomon (Lake Bell), a woman who longs to do more voiceover work, but has to settle for making money being a vocal coach. Her father, Sam Soto (Fred Melamed) is a legend in the industry and he has discouraged Carol from following in his footsteps, stating that no one wants to hear a female voice. Due to her financial issues, Carol lives with her dad, but that comes to an end when he invites his much younger girlfriend (Alexandra Holden) to move in. Carol then goes to live with her sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins), and her husband, Moe (Rob Corddry). As Carol struggles with these family issues, she's also trying to find steady work and she often gets help from Louis (Demetri Martin) who works in a recording studio. Carol's life takes a bizarre turn when two things happen. First, she has an odd romantic encounter with voiceover whiz-kid Gustav Warner (Ken Marino). Secondly, she's offered a job which could change her life.
In A World... was written, produced and directed by star Lake Bell, and she's created a film which takes us on a journey which is both unique and familiar. The unique part is the world of voiceover. We hear these people all the time on commercials and the aforementioned trailers, but unless it's a celebrity voice, we typically don't pay attention to it. But, in the world of In A World..., this is a profession in which everyone is competing for the best jobs and gossip moves quickly in this tight-knit community. We see how Carol struggles for acceptance in this realm, and there must be some truth to this, as I can't recall hearing many female voices in trailers. The other interesting aspect of this is Carol's relationship with her father. Now, we've seen plenty of movies in which a parent doubts or oppresses their children, but this one is especially unique, because not only is Sam telling Carol to not follow in his footsteps (which would be perfectly understandable in any profession), but he's doing it specifically because she is female, making him an instantly unlikable character.
Along with this, we get a very human story about a woman who is simply trying to make it through everyday life, dealing with work, family, and relationships. This part of In A World... falls squarely into the "slice of life" film genre, but Bell has created such well-rounded characters that it's very easy to get caught up in their stories. While Carol's ups-and-downs are center-stage, the story of Dani and Moe is very interesting as well, as Carol gets to see first-hand that problems in their marriage. Carol's interactions with Gustav are decidedly cheesy (of course they are, Ken Marino is there), but her scenes with Louis have a very sweet nature, and Demetri Martin is able to reel in his usual hyperactivity.
With In A World... Bell has created a very inviting and warm movie. This isn't a big blockbuster and it isn't meant to be. This is a small movie which focus on an often unseen part of Hollywood, as well as the relationships of a group of people. She has assembled a great cast, including some nice cameos, and the film has some true laugh-out-loud moments. There is always a sense of trepidation when an actor steps behind the camera, but Bell shows a steady hand here and I'm interested to see what she does next.
In A World... get the "Nod of Truth" when Moe says, "Where am I going to play this?" on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source material. The image is never overly dark or bright and the colors look good. The level of detail is good, as we can make out textures on objects and the depth is what we would want from a new movie on Blu-ray. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The trailer examples in the film provide some nice surround sound and subwoofer effects. Other than that, the audio consists mostly of pleasing stereo effects which show good separation, but never compromise the all-important dialogue.
The In A World... Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Director/Actor Lake Bell. The Disc contains nine DELETED SCENES which run about 14 minutes. This contain a few new moments and longer versions of scenes from the film. But, it also has uncut versions of a reality show which is glimpsed in the movie and this feels like a waste. This is followed by a 4-minute GAG REEL. "In A World... Promos" (5 minutes) offers six brief moments where the cast members stand in front of a mic and say something about the movie.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long