Entertainment Movies
Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'In a World ...' review: Good tone, lacking in urgency

*** (out of four)

 There aren’t many good leading roles out there for actresses. There just aren’t. Last year Rashida Jones co-wrote one for herself and shined in the ultimately disappointing “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” and now Lake Bell (“Children’s Hospital,” “No Strings Attached”) has written and directed her first starring role with “In a World …”

The movie’s just as likable as she is—which is to say, very.

The daughter of voiceover legend Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), Carol (Bell) has grown up in a man’s world. The industry doesn’t want a female sound, her dad says. He also tells his 31-year-old daughter to get out of his house because his 30-year-old girlfriend (Alexandra Holden) is moving in. “I’m going to support you by not supporting you,” Sam explains. How kind.

While crashing with her bickering sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law Moe (Rob Corddry), Carol, a freelance vocal coach, nails her chance at doing voiceover for a movie trailer (“Welcome to the Jungle Gym,” a children’s romantic comedy). This might be troubling for rising star Gustav Warner (Ken Marino), but he doesn’t know who Carol is when he hits on her. He just wants to tell her she’s pretty.

“In a World” screams “filmmaker’s first feature,” mostly in a good way. Bell finds little pockets of humanity and humiliation that feel observant, not judgmental. She generates sweetness in the relationship between Carol and Louis (Demetri Martin), her colleague with a crush, which could have felt generic. The film also lacks energy and intensity other than the distance felt between Dani and Moe, an incongruous plotline whose resolution skips the part of people actually trying to work through the challenges of marriage.

But “In a World …” has a sincere, sincerely pleasant rhythm and a welcome commitment to women taking charge of their careers and professional demeanor. It’s a message movie guided by good sense, and a good sense of humor.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Road to record Emanuel tax hike paved by delays, 'gimmicks'

    Road to record Emanuel tax hike paved by delays, 'gimmicks'

    Moments after taking the oath of office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Chicagoans he had "been clear about the hard truths and tough choices we face" and vowed to put "the city of Chicago's financial house in order."

  • Posh Water Tower Place condo: $1.995M

    Posh Water Tower Place condo: $1.995M

    180 E Pearson Street Unit 3301: $1,995,000  Listed on July 17, 2015 Enjoy exceptional north/west views of Michigan Avenue and the lake from the 33rd floor of this three-bedroom-plus-den condo with two full and one-half baths. The perfect combination of elegance and comfort, this 2784-square-foot...

  • Northerly Island's nature preserve now open

    Northerly Island's nature preserve now open

    The only thing that lands on Northerly Island now are birds and butterflies.

  • Where to go to laugh while The Second City undergoes repairs

    Where to go to laugh while The Second City undergoes repairs

    The early-afternoon fire on Aug. 26 that started in the Adobo Grill restaurant next door to The Second City has forced the historic theater to move or cancel all of its performances in their Mainstage, e.t.c and UP Comedy Club theaters until at least Sunday, Sept. 20, which will mark 26 days without...

  • City to offer ticket, tax amnesty program

    City to offer ticket, tax amnesty program

    Faced with pushing through City Council a massive property tax increase and other fees as part of a 2016 budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to slightly soften that politically difficult package by offering an amnesty program for people who have unpaid tickets and back taxes they owe the city.

  • O'Hare noise complaints top 2 million for year

    O'Hare noise complaints top 2 million for year

    Complaints about jet noise from O'Hare International Airport topped 2 million during the first seven months of this year — eight times the number filed in all of 2014, the Chicago Department of Aviation said Friday.

Comments
Loading
76°