Lake Bell plays the lead character, Carol, who is a young woman that has forever been held back, in her voice-over acting career, by her father Sam (played by Fred Malamed). Sam is the second most famous voice-over actor of all time. He is the voice of many of the movie trailers that are used to advertise the movies before they come out. Sam has always played second-fiddle to the number one voice-over talent in history who is Don LaFontaine, recently deceased. Don created the catch-phrase "In a World ..." which, in his deep resonating voice, is one of the most memorable ways ever used to start a movie trailer. Sam is nearing the end of his career and is being given a lifetime achievement award. Everyone is constantly comparing Sam to Don because Don was the ”best.”
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There is a contest to find the best new voice-over talent to use the most famous catch-phrase of "In a World" to advertise a new Sci-fi movie about a planet that has a female rebellion occurring on it. Sam is offered the job, but feels like it is time to pass the baton to the younger generation and at first offers to help Gustav (played by Ken Marino) to get the job instead. Gustav is an arrogant, pompous, voice-over actor who is also a rising star. Sam thinks he is the best guy out there besides himself.
Carol, Sam's daughter, works as a voice-over coach. Her specialty is accents which she collects using a tape recorder. Carol is in the recording studio, when a job that Gustav is supposed to do is being set up for recording. Gustav can't make it, because he is sick. Since the client is impatient and there is no one else to do the job, Carol volunteers. She does an excellent job recording the voice-over and the client is very happy with the work. This leads to more voice-over jobs for carol. She finally has her big break into the movie business. A woman film producer Katherine Huling (played by Geena Davis) is in charge of the decision about who gets to do the voice-over for the new sci-fi film that starts with the famous catch-phrase "In A World." She hears about Carol and invites her to compete for the job.
When both Gustav and Sam learn that Carol is being seriously considered for the job they are outraged. Sam changes his mind about helping Gustav get the job and re-applies for the job himself because he cannot stand being upstaged by any woman, especially his own daughter. He is a classic male chauvinist and thinks only a deep man's voice is appropriate for these voice-over jobs. They all put in their audition tapes to try to get the job and the film producer selects Carol, not because she is the best for the job but to use her as a publicity stunt for the sci-fi film about a planet experiencing female rebellion. This deflates Gustav, and crushes Sam because Sam feels like he never got his chance to truly be number one, now that his daughter has stolen the limelight. They all go to the awards show, where Sam is to get the lifetime achievement award and Sam learns something really special about himself and his family.
Best part of story, including ending:
The deep resonating male voice of movie trailer voice-overs is really culturally significant. The struggle between the sexes and the discrimination that women face is dealt with in an interesting way in this film.
Best scene in story:
One of the most amusing scenes shows what the voice-over actors do to prepare themselves to make a recording of their voices. Their warm-up routines and superstitions are hilarious.
Opinion about the main character:
Carol does not really know how good she is, because she has always been put down by her father, and she has rarely received any validation. She is really good as what she does, and when she finally gets her chance to prove it, she shines.
Carol is a vocal coach in Los Angeles, still living with her father and trying to get her life together. Her father, Sam Sotto, is a legend of the voiceover industry, up for a lifetime achievement award in the field. Sam kicks his daughter out so his young girlfriend can move in, leaving Carol to have to crash on the couch of her sister, Dani, and her husband, Moe. Meanwhile, a rumor spreads around the voiceover industry: they're going to bring back Don LaFontaine's famous catchphrase "in a world" for the trailer to the upcoming blockbuster film series, The Amazon Games. The favorite for the job, up-and-coming hot voiceover star Gustav, calls out sick for a side gig, leaving Carol to record a temp track that catches the ear of a producer. Soon, Carol is no longer a vocal coach; she is a full-blown voiceover artist, recording commercials and radio spots. The idea of a female voiceover disgusts Sam and Gustav, who are stuck in the traditions of the deep-voiced man dominating the industry. When Sam finds out that the girl stealing the jobs from men is actually his daughter, he dusts off his vocal chords and injects himself into the competition for The Amazon Games job. Carol, Sam, and Gustav find themselves neck-and-neck, fighting for the most iconic line in the history of their industry, with the announcement of who booked the job approaching swiftly.