There are about a thousand funny things happening in In a World ... .
First, there's the insular community in which it's set: voice-over artists competing to be the next Don LaFontaine, the guy who practically patented the phrase, "In a world ..." at the beginning of movie previews of coming attractions.
As in such Christopher Guest movies as Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, In a World ... is set in a tiny back-bitey community of people, and their sense of their own importance is hilarious as they compete for the gig doing trailers for a Hunger Games-like "quadrilogy," an idiotic word they use over and over to increasing comic effect.
There's also a messed-up family: Lake Bell, who wrote the quick-witted script and directed the movie, plays voice-over wannabe Carol. Her pompous dad (Fred Melamed from A Serious Man) resents her attempts to invade his professional territory, and Carol and her neurotic sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins, who is gut-bustingly funny), resent each other's choices but not as much as they resent their father's relationship with a dim-witted woman who is younger, dumber and blonder than they are.
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A well-disguised romantic comedy involves Carol's fling with a vain voice-over superstar (Ken Marino), while two colleagues who seem more suitable (played by the wry Nick Offerman and the sweet-natured Demetri Martin) lurk in the background. For good measure, Dani and her husband (Rob Corddry) weather a rough spot in their happy, somewhat crabby marriage.
Bell has lurked around the best-friend margins of Hollywood, but In a World ... shows she's a star. She deftly juggles all of these film's elements, with the movie reaching its comic peak at the farcical Golden Trailer Awards (which are a real thing).
In a World ... is bright, knowing and smart about relationships — in a world where starved romcom fans have been waiting for a movie just like it.
'In a World ...'
R for language including some sexual references. Roadside Attractions. 1:33. Kentucky Theatre.