In a World… (2013)

<strong class="MovieTitle">In a World…</strong> (2013)

(On Cable TV, June 2014) The nice thing about being a cinephile is that movies often self-congratulate themselves and their viewers. I’m not being malicious here: if you’re a fan of movies, you will find the best validation for your obsession at the movies themselves rather than in novels, music or other competing entertainment media. (The same goes for the other media, naturally). In the case of In a World, knowing about Don Lafontaine’s voice and how it was used in major movie trailers until his death in 2008 is enough to prime you for an entire movie about movie trailer voiceovers. But never mind those high-flying considerations, especially when In a World proves to be a perfectly charming low-budget romantic comedy. It’s certainly has to do with Hollywood insider material, but it’s accessible enough to wider audiences, and universally successful in how it deals with its characters. Actress Lake Bell successfully marks a transition to writer/director status with her first film, and gets a great lead role as a likable vocal coach who ends up in the movie-trailer voiceover specialty. There are plenty of conflicts involving her family and a blooming romance with a co-worker on the way to major industry recognition. It’s not a particularly dense film, nor much of an outright laugh-getter, but it feels genuine and friendly in a way many bigger-budgeted productions often don’t. Bell is exactly who she should be as the protagonist, but she also lets other players such as Fred Melamed claim a big place within the movie. The opening sequence is brilliant (seamlessly going from explaining Lafontaine’s legacy to introducing many of the film’s characters) and there are a few good plot twists on the way to a more conventional underdog-triumphant story. While In a World is universally accessible enough to be worth watching by anyone, cinephiles will get a lot out of exploring one of the hidden corners of Hollywood.

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