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'In a World' pokes good fun

  • (Roadside Attractions)

You don't have to go to the movies to know the phrase "In a world . . . "

It's the voice-of-doom cliche from a hundred movie trailers, from thrillers -- "In a world ruled by zombies. . . " -- to comedies -- "In a world where even zombies need love . . . "

The most famous purveyor of that line was Hollywood voice-over artist Don LaFontaine, who died in 2008. "In a World . . . " is an indie comedy set in that world of golden-voiced professionals, men and a lone woman jockeying to be the one who gets to "own" that phrase and rule that little corner of the movie biz.

Actress-turned-writer / director Lake Bell ("No Strings Attached," "What Happens in Vegas") may be condemned to best-friend roles in mainstream films.

But she takes charge here with an amusing, simple, get in-make your funny point-get out comedy about the cinema's ultimate acting specialists.

That's not what Carol (Bell) is.

She does voice work, but her specialty is voice coaching. She gets the call when Eva Longoria (as herself) slings a "retarded pirate" accent for her latest role and the sound engineer Louis (Demetri Martin) needs Longoria to re-record her lines.

After he's apologized, profusely, for using "retarded" as an insult.

Carol's dad is the real Man with the Golden Pipes. Sam (Fred Melamed of "A Serious Man", very funny) is the elder voiceman everybody figures will be the one to take over "In a World . . . ," a pompous pop given to pronouncements like "A voice is not just a blessing, it's a choice."

He's propped Carol up for years but he's thwarted her greatest ambition: to be the Queen of Movie Trailer Voice-Overs.

"The industry does not crave a female sound." Sam and the smarmy and rich Gustav (Ken Marino) think they're the ones with the inside track on that title.

But Carol, by accident and by looks (sound engineer Louis is smitten) stumbles into the lead in that race, upsetting this silly world of accents, affectations, rumbling basses and self-important nobodies.

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