Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: In a World...

Release date: August 9, 2013 (August 16 in the DC area)
Running time: 93 minutes
Starring: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Demitri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Rob Corddry
Who to see it with: Feminists who like romantic comedy


In a World... is a romantic comedy about 31-year-old vocal coach Carol Solomon (Bell, doing triple duty as actor, writer and director) who wishes to enter the highly competitive and male-dominated world of commercial voice-overs. After getting a chance to break into the industry, she receives a surprising lack of support from her voice-over legend dad Sam (Melamed) and butts heads with well-known industry star Gustav (Marino). Fortunately, nerdy Louis (Martin) supports her as both a friend and audio engineer.
IaW's satire and message make it unlike typical romantic comedies. It often feels like a gender reversal of an Apatow comedy, with Carol being a slightly more driven, female version of the Apatow man child character. Carol's drive to break into the voice-over boys' club gives the movie a stronger narrative than the clichéd "girl clashes, and later falls in love, with boy" story. The riffs on women's societal perception and Hollywood sometimes reminded me of 30 Rock. (One particular joke was practically the basis for an episode.) Carol is more career-driven than boy crazy, and the plot's romance portion has little manufactured conflict. A dramatic subplot involving Carol's sister and her boyfriend (Watkins and Corddry) feels a bit out of place, but doesn't overwhelm the movie. All of this is centered around the humor of Carol's awkward, bumbling relationships, especially with her obliviously mean dad and male counterpart Louis.
IaW is fairly funny, but I mainly liked it for its characters and nontraditional plot. There were a few instances where I wasn't laughing but could barely hear due to that of the audience, so your mileage may vary. It's a bit predictable and features a couple of sudden changes of heart, but the lead up to the end largely feels fresh. In a World... is not groundbreaking, but romantic comedy filmmakers should take notes on its unusually strong plot and avoidance of rom com clichés.

See it.

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