In a world where movie-trailer voiceovers are dominated by men, one woman has a dream—to become the first woman to ever utter the words “in a world” in a movie trailer.
Lake Bell (Childrens Hospital), who also wrote and directed this comedy, stars as Carol, an underemployed vocal coach and aspiring voice actor whose father, Sam (Fred Melamed), is a superstar in the insular movie trailer industry. After Sam kicks Carol out of the house to make room for his girlfriend, she becomes a rising movie-trailer star in her own right—much to Sam’s annoyance.
Thanks to Bell’s comedy connections, even the small roles here are filled by recognizable, hilarious actors, like Tig Notaro and Nick Offerman (who play sound engineers). Among a very talented cast, however, Demetri Martin stands out as Louis, a charmingly awkward engineer with a crush on Carol.
For all its laughs, In A World… isn’t short on messages or touching moments—Bell tackles marriage, infidelity, and forgiveness in a subplot about Carol’s sister and brother-in-law, examines father/daughter relationships, and takes viewers behind Sam’s exaggerated masculinity to show the insecurity beneath. Most importantly, though, the film is about women striving and succeeding in male-dominated industries. The point is driven home in a cameo by Geena Davis, who delivers a speech that would be right at home at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. And of course, it’s damn funny, too.