'In A World' review: Quirky, funny look into voiceover biz lacks much drama
A nice, wandering film that's relaxed in its tone and conflict ... although cute, 'In A World' doesn't create great drama.
In short: a legendary voice over artist's daughter (Lake Bell) aspires to follow in her father's footsteps. (watch the trailer)
Bell's directorial debut clearly has her comedic voice throughout 'World' - which is not surprising since Bell also wrote and played the film's main character. Her brand of comedy is very naturalistic, in that she writes great understated dialogue with equally understated delivery. The easy going and witty dialogue is the film's greatest strength.
Unfortunately, however, 'In A World' has only a minimal amount of dramatic tension. This is a problem because - theoretically - 'World' features three main characters all competing for the same gig. At odds directly with one another are a rookie voiceover artist Carol (Bell), the rising VO star (Ken Marino) and Carol's legendary VO father (Fred Melamed). But there's very little escalating conflict between these three characters - even though their differing agendas form the backbone of the films framework.
Oddly enough, the most dramatic elements are spent on a out-of-place B-plot following the rocky marriage of Carol's sister. It's unfortunate that the B-plot has a stronger rising tension-conflict-resolution arch than the central narrative.
The main thread has the three main characters competing for one lucrative job. But this film never establishes any urgency between the main protagonists-antagonists to win the gig: none of the three VO artists truly sweat or work to earn their place as finalists for the career-defining gig. All three back into competition - which does nothing to ratchet up dramatic stakes.
Final verdict: 'In A World...' spends more time fleshing out the quirky world of voice-over artists and not enough time weaving a compelling story.