Carol Solomon (Lake Bell) is a voice coach who lives with her father Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), who also uses his voice to make his living, as a voiceover specialist - now that the legendary Don LaFontaine is dead, there are plenty of pretenders to his throne and Sam thinks he can fill the great man's shoes. If he cannot do it, then his protege Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) might be able to, but what of Carol? It's a tradition that movie trailers have men providing the voiceovers, but she feels she is just as capable as her male counterparts and has been putting her name out there as a viable candidate for trying something different...
It's a great idea for a comedy this, placing a different angle on a field most people had taken for granted, so ingrained into the entertainment industry is its subject matter. When you knew what it was, it set you thinking: when was the last time you heard a woman introducing a movie trailer? You might find you cannot think of one instance, which in turn prompts you to wonder why not, placing the question somewhere in the region of why there were so few female airline pilots, and from the trailer to In a World... (LaFontaine's celebrated opening gambit cliché of a catchphrase) it seemed as if writer/director/star Lake Bell was taking this on with vigour.
Alas, pretty much all that was good about the film was in the trailer, which was less a high concept indie and more a rote indie schmindie drama which got too caught up in the relationships between the characters, and that did include the de rigueur romantic issues. It was a pity such a vital premise should be squandered on the sort of business you could get in countless other movies, but that was not to say Bell entirely fumbled her work, as a few funny lines and interesting scenes survived. That said, when Sam throws Carol out of their home to make room for his trophy wife Jamie (Alexandra Holden) and she is forced to move in with her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins), hilarity does not ensue.
More of a domestic drama ensues, with Dani allowing herself to be seduced - not that they actually go to bed together - by a dashing Irishman when she's already married to stand up guy Moe (Rob Corddry), and this is accidentally recorded on Carol's portable tape player she uses to capture accents of those she meets in day to day life which Moe then hears. All very well, but what did it have to do with our heroine breaking the voiceover glass ceiling? Not very much, and it came across more like Bell was getting diverted from her mission by feeling the need to add soap opera theatrics to what was strong enough to stand on its own, yet was frustratingly weakened by her lack of focus on what was very capable of taking up the whole ninety minutes quite nicely.
Carol has romantic problems too, as she should really allow herself to be wooed by Demetri Martin's sweet but ineffectual sound engineer at the studio they work at, but instead allows herself to be bedded by the full of himself and pretentious Gustav, who doesn't know he, she and Sam are being considered for the same lucrative job in a new Hunger Games-style franchise. Even the Carol character has trouble getting her act together and concentrating on the movie's unique selling point, which was all too indicative of Bell's approach. There were funny bits here and there, such as Eva Longoria trying to get her tongue around the Cockney accent for her latest role, yet even there that and the final trailer we see for the important job veered too close to parody when they should have been played straight, since otherwise it made a mockery of Carol's ambitions when her goal is rendered so trivially. Maybe the main problem was that Bell should have settled on either comedy or drama to tell her tale; this uneasy mixture fell between two stools. Music by Ryan Miller.