In A World

August 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ½

So, what does a gifted, intelligent actress do in Hollywood when she’s frustrated with the way women are portrayed on screen and the roles available to them?  If she’s Lake Bell (“Boston Legal,” “It’s Complicated”), she writes, directs and stars in her own movie.  While that sounds dangerously close to self-indulgent, it helps that “In A World” is both funny and insightful.  Bell cleverly tells the story of Carol, a vocal coach, trying to get into the voice-over business in Hollywood.  She uses this story as a vehicle to explore Hollywood perceptions about women but also, more broadly, about how women see and display themselves.  At times, the film suffers from a conflict of tone, trying to be both good-natured wacky and biting commentary at the same time.  However, the overall product is funny enough and clever enough to be satisfying.  This movie does not require brilliance from any of its actors but they all give solidly funny, and sometimes touching performances.  The crew of gosh-he-looks-familiars include Rob Corddry (“The Daily Show,” “Warm Bodies”), Ken Marino (“Veronica Mars,” “Burning Love”), Demetri Martin (“Important Things with Demetri Martin”), Fred Melamed (“Husbands & Wives,” “A Serious Man”) and Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”). Bell proves to have a great comic sensibility, herself, and is a clever mimic of voices.  The best humor of the film comes in the way it pokes fun at the types of voices women adopt to succeed in a male dominated world.  Bell knows better than to be heavy handed and leaves the commentary (mostly) off screen.  While this film was never uproariously funny or particularly moving, it was a fun summer comedy with more to say than most.


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