Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Triple-Threat New Talent Named Lake Bell


“In a World” Where Voice is Everything

By Skip Sheffield

A new triple threat emerged at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Her name is Lake Bell and she won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for her film “In a World,” which she also directed and plays the main character.
If you are puzzled by the title, all you need is to hear is familiar deep, husky male voice solemnly announcing, “In a World…” (where violence rules, people have gone mad, or other dire scenarios) “there is only one person,” (who can blah, blah, blah).
That deep bass voice belonged to the late Don LaFontaine, “The King of the Voiceovers,” with more than 5,000 movie trailers to his credit.
Lake Bell acknowledges the legacy of Don LaFontaine at the very start of “In a World” and uses it as a springboard for an idealist, screwball feminist fantasy in a world where female announcers are treated equally with males.
Bell’s character, Carol is the daughter of Sam Soto (Fred Melamed), one of Hollywood’s leading voiceover artists. Carol makes a living as a voice coach and lives in the shadow of her egotistical, self-centered widower father, who has taken up with a 30-year-old bimbo named Jamie (Alexandra Holden). Sam wants Jamie to move into his apartment.
This is bad news for Carol, who is approximately the same age as her dad’s new playmate. Sam gently but firmly pushes his daughter out the door. Carol is forced to appeal to her older sister Dani (Michaela Watkins), who is married to an insincere male chauvinist named Moe (Rob Corddry) for a place of refuge.
Lake Bell evidently has some pull in the film community, because she got top-drawer actresses Eva Longoria and Geena Davis to play cameo roles. Longoria plays herself, hilariously attempting to master a foreign accent. Davis plays a film producer who may give Carol her big break touting a four-part Amazon Women blockbuster.
Just about all the male characters in the film are jerks, with one notable exception: a geeky sound engineer named Louis (Demetri Martin).
Louis not only believes in Carol; he has a crush on her. This is the complete opposite of Gustav Warner (Ken Marino), a hotshot voiceover guy who takes advantage of her and wants to take her father’s crown.
“In a World” will appeal most to those who know a little bit about movies and the highly-specialized voiceover business. Two of my brothers are in it.

The competition is fierce, work is unsteady and the anxiety over vocal health is constant, but the rewards can be huge. “In a World” is more clever than it is deep. Lake Bell has a way with words and a lovely rich voice with which to convey them. This could be a good date movie for guys who don’t mind some pointed jokes at the expense of their sex.

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