Expecting a 90-minute comedy film to really plunge into the intricacies of an underdog industry is a sure fire way to come up disappointed, I have to admit in retrospect. But with the likes of Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Ken Marino, and Rob Corddry on board — individuals I have come to revere for their mission to twist and expand the form of contemporary comedy — I felt it reasonable to look forward to a decidedly interesting movie about the universe of voiceover acting. In a World... is definitely interesting, though not as much as it could have been. Although the subculture central to the story is a fascinating one, In a World... seems bent on straying outside its confines and into more mainstream pastures. An understandable impulse, sure. But we were having a good time with the voiceover shtick.
Were writer/director/star Bell willing to forgo the "necessities" of a romantic subplot for her and Martin's character and a trouble-in-paradise B story that takes up far too much time without even a tenuous connection to the central plot, we'd have the movie we paid for. Without these anchors, we might have seen a few more of the twists and turns to the colorful, convoluted, and wicked industry that In a World... paints voiceover acting out to be. But I guess when you're making a movie about something as niche as voiceover, you need to stock in a few bits of budding romance and relationship dismays to keep the masses affixed.
It's not as though Bell's side stories aren't entertaining. Thanks to the more than capable supporting players, even the more meandering parts of the story are good for a laugh. But the meat is back in the studio, where Bell plays a struggling voiceover artist who is just breaking into trailer work thanks to a new demand for a female voice. Ah, here's where things get good — here's where we realize that the industry is one worth our attention: "Yes," the viewer thinks for the very first time in his or her life, "I guess I do only here dudes narrating movie previews." You do. And it's because of the baritone kingpins like Carol's (Bell) father Sam (Fred Melamed) and his protegee Gustav (Marino) who monopolize the workload and keep the whole game a "boy's club."
When the film delves into the sexism of the industry, it's interesting. When it bats around the tricks of the trade, it's fun. When it veers off to explore the marital rough patch faced by Carol's sister (Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law (Corddry), it's a little perplexing. Why is this happening? What happened to the microphones and all the shop talk? Unfortunately, In a World... doesn't feel comfortable in its own skin, hoping to pad the blow of a quirky insider flick with romantic stuff with which everyone can feel familiar. But that's not the victory of this movie. Bell's directorial debut is far superior, in fact, when it stays in its own little world.
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It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the temperature’s dropping, and people are breaking out the boots and sweaters. While I’m always stoked to cozy up on the couch with a cup of tea and some good TV when October rolls around, the sadistic side of me gets a little bit of sick pleasure from watching as the lesser of the new Fall shows bite the dust. Enter our Fall TV Deathwatch.
Stick a Fork in it: My Generation
It was a novel idea: a television show based off a two-part documentary following a high school class during their graduating year and 10 years after they left the hallowed halls. However, of the 17 new network shows this Fall, My Generation pulled in the lowest ratings (outside of the already axed Lone Star). It even seemed like it could have a good run; there were plenty of tangled relationship webs and lots of feel-good moment potential but now thanks to a lack of viewership the 3.9 million people who did watch new drama will have to go on without a resolution.
Things are Looking Grim: The Whole Truth
With My Generation out, ABC's not done dealing with struggling ratings. Their Wednesday drama, The Whole Truth, is nipping at My Generation's heels with a measly 4.6 million viewers. The crime show, which follows TV vets Maura Tierney (NewsRadio, ER) and Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure, Numb3rs) as a Manhattan ADA and a defense lawyer who face off week to week on different cases (because that would happen), is treading water for now. The ratings are enough to earn it a third episode, but we'll have to wait and see how it holds up this week.
Still Kicking: Running Wilde
Will Arnett’s not-so-triumphant return to Fox may not even last as long as the short-lived run of his last Fox show, Arrested Development.While I’d like to be able to say that there’s obviously something wrong with America, I can’t. The show simply isn’t that funny, and like its 9 p.m. partner, Raising Hope, Wilde is also up against the DWTS ratings behemoth. The problem is with 5.6 million viewers for its premiere and only 4.5 returning for episode two, things are looking grim. That doesn’t exactly qualify as a niche, and it’s not that far from the 4.1million that condemned Lone Star and My Generation to untimely death. Wilde had better turn up the funny, or their goose is cooked.
In a Perfect World: S#*! My Dad Says
While we’ve got great shows (like the aforementioned Lone Star; sorry, I can't stress it enough) being cut short for a lack of ratings and even tried and true vets like 30 Rock are only pulling five or six million viewers, a show like S#*! My Dad Says comes along with its slew of bland jokes pawned off of some kid’s Twitter page and scores a ratings Bonanza. S#*! (I get way too much of a kick out of calling it that) continues to rock the ratings game with episode two pulling in 10.4 million viewers. It looks like this show’s going to make it, but in a perfect world, I’d put it on the chopping block. Sadly, the viewers have spoken. I apologize in advance for what I’m about to say, but America, WTF?
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, TVByTheNumbers
Maura Tierney is ready to return to television with a starring role in ABC's The Whole Truth.
Tierney, who dropped out of NBC drama Parenthood last season to undergo treatment for breast cancer, officially signed on to the legal drama last week. The 45 year old ER veteran is stepping in after actress Joely Richardson left the series to spend more time with her family.
The Whole Truth puts a very generic spin on the legal drama formula by following both the prosecution and defense over the course of a case. Rob Morrow is signed to co-star as the main defense attorney.
If you’d like to see the very melodramatic pre-Tierney trailer, you can check it out below. I’m a fan of Tierney's past work, but I don’t know if anyone can save dialogue this bad.
Sources: iVillage, Deadline