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Saturday, 24 August 2013 15:37

'In a World' delivers a world of fun with a point

'In a World' delivers a world of fun with a point
Written by Diane Carson
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A few rare films manage to combine light-hearted comedy, absent mean-spirited put-downs, with substantive content. Writer/director Lake Bell's film "In a World" achieves that trifecta, providing very good laughs along with a look at father-daughter rivalry, sexism in the movie trailer business, and issues of self-esteem.

The set up is wonderful. After a gracious homage to the great Don LaFontaine, we enter the world of Sam Sotto. Famous for his voiceover expertise, Sam possesses the instantly recognizable voice of "in a world" movie trailers. He's retiring, receiving a life achievement award, and kicking his 31-year-old daughter Carol out of his apartment so his 30-year-old girlfriend can move in. Carol takes refuge at her sister Dani's apartment.

Dani, a concierge at a swanky hotel, provides the quirky, likable Carol with covert recording access to clients with various accents, useful to Carol who works as a dialect coach but who ambitiously desires to assume the mantle of "in a world" voiceover. Her egotistical father thinks a woman doing that is ridiculous; Carol will challenge that sexist practice while she and Dani face their own romantic temptations.

Some of "In a World" unfolds a bit like a sit-com, dependent on clever repartee, but good writing lifts it above the pedestrian with wit and charm. Moreover, "In a World" gets to the issues and the emotions beneath the humor, revealing stereotypical assumptions and egotistical indulgences.

Throughout her debut film, writer/director/producer and star Lake Bell uses reaction shots effectively to convey emotion and generously lets many supporting players have the best lines. One of the standouts is Geena Davis as the woman who will choose the new "in a world" voice, and Davis nails it with a pointed speech about the power of what we see and hear, and what we don't--a woman.

Technically the cinematography supports the emphasis on relationships, avoiding unnecessary, distracting movement. And with timing everything in comedies, the editing has to hit the right rhythm, and it does. "In a World" offers an entertaining film with a valuable point. Listen up. At Landmark Theatres.

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