MRR Review: "In a World..."

Photo Credit: Roadside Attractions

MRR Review: "In a World..."

Rating: R (language including some sexual references)
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: April 26, 2013
Directed by: Lake Bell
Genre: Comedy

The struggle between the sexes is clearly on display in "In a World...," a film written and directed by actress Lake Bell. Bell delves into a variety of issues, including the way people view different genders and the relationships between fathers and their daughters.

Carol (Lake Bell, "No Strings Attached") has spent most of her life living in the shadow of her successful father, Sam Sotto, who works as a voice-over artist. Sam (Fred Malamed, "The Dictator") is the type of man who views the world in terms of stereotypes. He sees women as sex objects and men as the future leaders of the world. While he could help his daughter find work at any point, he focuses his attention instead on his protégé Gustav (Ken Marino, "Children's Hospital").

When Carol learns that the Golden Trailers has awarded her father its lifetime achievement award, she finally snaps. Living in her father's shadow for so long and watching him help friends instead of his own children makes this the final straw. After learning that a radio station hopes to increase its ratings by bringing back a popular catchphrase, Carol makes it clear that she wants the job, while Sam pushes Gustav into applying for the job. Once Sam learns that his daughter also wants the job, he decides to throw his own name into the hat, leading to a hilarious and entertaining story about family, gender issues, and life in general.

Bell is a talented comedic actress, but she often appears as a background character. "It's Complicated" casts her as a shrew of a woman who marries the ex-husband of the main character, while "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" had too many actors to let any one person shine. "In a World..." finally gives her a chance to stand out and showcase her talents. Many of her scenes in the film are comedy gold, and she has good chemistry with many of her fellow actors.

One of the best cast actors in the film is Malamed. He portrays Sam as a man who has no idea what it means to be or act like a father. Malamed does a fantastic job of portraying a man who always looks out for himself even if it means hurting those around him. His one-liners in the film are the ones that viewers will love quoting months after watching it. Malamed also has good chemistry with Alexandria Holden ("The Hot Chick"), the actress cast in the role of his much younger wife.

Marino is one of the most talented comedic actors of the current generation, but he's best known for his work on television. After watching him in "In a World...," some might wonder why he hasn't landed more big-screen roles. His Gustav is equally sexist and innocent, which leads to some of the best scenes in the film. Gustav idolizes Sam, and because he views the older man as a father figure, he thinks that he can do no wrong. When Sam finally throws him under the bus to go after the job himself, it leaves Gustav confused and questioning his past beliefs.

"In a World..." uses humor to broach serious topics. Carol spent most of her life angry at her father for not being part of her life and wondering what she could do to make him love her. She doesn't understand why he never helped her in her career and why he spends so much time focusing on his relationships with men. When she learns about his latest wife, she becomes even more confused. Her father has no problem forming relationships with women his own age, but he can't make the step towards forming a relationship with his children. The film does a smart job of showing that Sam is merely stunted. He still acts like it's the 1960s, when men could slap women on the behind without repercussions and women stayed home to take care of their men.

The connection between Carol and Sam is the heart of the film, but some viewers will wonder why she can't just move on with her life. Everyone has family issues, but not everyone lets those issues take over their lives like Carol does. Once she decides to put her own needs first, the film becomes a lot stronger. The decision to go after the job lets viewers root for Carol.

"In a World..." is a film that draws viewers into the story of one small family. Viewers with family problems can relate to Carol's struggles, and other viewers will love the funny moments between Carol, Gustav, and the other characters. Though the story sometimes falters a little, this film is one of the best comedies of recent years.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tags: Lake Bell