Sometimes a movie just sneaks up on you in just the right way. It’s affecting, it’s memorable, it showed up out of the blue uninvited (right, Adele?) but sticks with you longer than expected. That’s Lake Bell’s directorial debut, In A World.
I’ve been a fan of Bell’s for a long time now. She’s, like, Judy Greer’s raspy-voiced sister; she’s done some great supporting work throughout her career, has constantly worked for the last 12 years or so, but just hasn’t had that moment to break out. That is until now. In A World is a defiant, “I am Lake Bell, hear me roar” showcase of her wide range of talent. If she had just starred in the movie that would have been more than enough for me to appreciate her/the film, but to know that she also wrote and directed the movie (both well done) only helps In A World.
The film focuses on vocal coach (Bell) who is the daughter of movie trailer voice over legend, who is adamant about carving her own path in the business. It’s a very specific type of movie for a very specific type of audience – I mean, it’s a movie about voice over actors who do work mostly for movie trailers – if this isn’t up your alley, then, well…well then I understand. This isn’t going to set the box office on fire, of course not, but that isn’t the intention here. It’s a showcase for Bell, first and foremost, who is superb. The writing and direction are on point, but she herself, Lake Bell the actress, is genuinely fantastic and hilarious. I’m still laughing from the smoothie scene (it’s in the trailer).
The film spins many plates: it’s really a family dramedy, but also a quirky romantic-comedy, but also has something to say about women in Hollywood, their stance and how they are used. The film spins maybe too many plates all at once (in all honesty I could have done without the family drama or the romance because I didn’t need both) but it, somewhat, successfully handles them with care.
I’ve had my issues with a lot of this summer’s indies; they’ve been less then affective mainly because they were attempting to rehash whatever has been done before (looking at you, The Way, Way Back). In A World has it’s issues (the rapid-fire dialogue is a bit overbearing at times) but it’s entirely original and refreshing and God, Lake Bell is just so, so good in it. You’re time is now Ms. Bell. Welcome.