in-a-worldWhose Voice Is That?
In A World
Stars: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Rob Corddry, Tig Notaro, Geena Davis, Alexandra Holden with cameos by Eva Longoria, Cameron Diaz and Jason O’Mara
Director/Scriptwriter/Producer: Lake Bell
Composer: Ryan Miller
Roadside Attractions
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 93 minutes
If the title of this film sounds familiar, “In a world…,” it is because those words are the opening for movie trailers, usually science fiction or documentaries. This is the land of the voice behind the film. People who act with their voices and you would never recognize them on the street. Mel Blanc (“I taught I taw a puddy tat…..“) comes to mind as a genius with vocal cords. For anyone who has held a microphone in their hand to MC, sing, speak, introduce or karaoke, you can recognize the work that goes into voice productions, including vocal exercises. Plus, there are people want lessons to help them with their speech pattern, as witnessed by a young woman attorney who has the voice of a “little girl“ and “would you want me to defend you in court?”
“In A World” was written, directed, produced and starred in by actress Lake Bell, and I still remember her from the television series, “Surface,” of several years ago. Bell saw that the business of voicing movie trailers is 99% male, so she created a situation of a father who is a famous voice artist, one daughter working in the hotel business and the other daughter a voice artist. She, however, is a woman and thus not part of the “voice business.” All is not as it seems.
The story has Carol (Bell) working quietly and off the beaten track in the voice business. Each artist who makes a living at this, has a studio at home and carries a tape recorder with them to tape anyone anywhere for studying accents, speech patterns, etc. Carol’s father is the famous Sam Soto (Fred Melamed) the King of  voice people. With an ego the size of California. Dad is a widower with a new younger, girlfriend, Jamie (Alexandra Holden) and Dad kicks Carol out so Jamie can move in. Thus begins Carol’s trek to getting a backbone, finding places to put her duffle bag and finding challenging work….all done with no one the wiser, as Carol dresses like she went dumpster diving and usually wears overalls. Still, guys notice her, like the shy sound engineer, Louis (Demitri Martin) and seem to like her awkwardness. Eventually, the are problems in the marriage of Carol’s sister (Michaela Watkins) and husband (Rob Corddry). People find out about Carol’s rise in the voice business and trying out to be the first woman to voice a series of trailers for a four-movie series (think “Hunger Games” here) about the empowerment of women. Of course, Dad and another voice artist Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) also try out for the big job. Gustav purposely woos Carol to distract her from doing her best work. 
Lake Bell jumped into making “In A World,” wearing three hats and shines in all three. Producing qualities assured good sets and cameos by name actors. The script is insightful about a father full of ego and daughters who are always in his shadow. Bell is a good actress at playing the background girl you don't notice except when she wears a dress and lipstick. Fred Melamed does a Sam Soto well with big gestures and always a commanding voice. Michaela Watkin,s as the other daughter, is in the background until it is her turn and then a sly smiles comes on and away she goes with her lines. Rob Corddry steals his scenes as Watkins’ husband who always has a ready quip and is happy with both women in his life, wife and sister-in-law. Another actor who steals his scenes is Demetri Martin as the shy Louis whose face runs a spectrum of emotion in seconds whenever he sees Carol.
The story is about people who can express themselves before a microphone but can't relate to their own families. People who listen to the voice on a movie trailer or promo or advertisements, think the performing voice people must be beautiful/handsome and have a wonderful life. In reality, the studio is cluttered with electronic equipment, people are dressed in rumpled clothes, no make-up, and hair-do’s are for someone else. Since no camera is there, you can look just about any way you want to. One of the jokes in the film is that voice people have “radio faces,” in other words, they blend into a crowd.
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner
For another film about family relations gone awry see the following:
The Way Way Back