Big, booming voices—and the lovable egos that come with them—are the stars of actor Lake Bell’s uniquely situated directorial debut, an L.A. comedy about trailer-narration experts. Bell herself, playing an impoverished 31-year-old often waking up on someone else’s couch, does a mean deep sell as Carol, a vocal coach to Eva Longoria and other “sexy babies.” Her widower father, Sam, is a legend in the industry, and the more you hear the velvety purr of A Serious Man’s Fred Melamed (and, to a lesser extent, his competition, played by Ken Marino), the more you admire Bell’s setup.
In a World… also smuggles in a female-empowerment narrative—there’s a big gig looming for the forthcoming “quadrilogy” The Amazon Games, pitting dad against daughter—as well as a marital breakdown. But with so many ideas to work with, why does Bell infantilize her elsewhere-confident main character as yet another disheveled woman-child? We’re supposed to see sparks fly between her and puppyish admirer Demetri Martin, but their first date is a parody of adulthood: post-ironic karaoke and air hockey. Please bring back the adults.
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