Tag: Rob Corddry

MOVIE REVIEW | In a World (2013)

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Lake Bell is an ever growing Hollywood surprise.  Her career started with generic hot girl roles, like Alec Baldwin’s young trophy wife in It’s Complicated.  She proved to be an hilarious comedy actor in the amazingly funny TV show Children’s Hospital.  She did a great job in the horror, thriller, crazily intense Black Rock.  And now, she’s really knocked it up a notch, writing, directing and starring in a little, indie comedy, that keeps getting talked about by all sorts of critics who’s opinions rarely steer me wrong, In A World.


As Carol, Bell is a vocal coach, helping people like Eva Longoria say things like “fink” instead of “think” when she’s playing a cor blimey cockney.  Her father Sam (Fred Melamed) is a legend in the voiceover industry, and he’s recently taken on voiceover hotshot Gustav (Ken Marino) as his protégé.  When it’s announced that a big Hollywood studio is going to launch their new quadrilogy blockbuster with a trailer using the phrase “In a world…”, the entire voiceover community of Los Angeles  scrambles to get the gig and take their career to the next level.  Including Carol, Sam and Gustav.

Also tied up in Carol’s world are her sister and husband (Michaela Watkins and Rob Corddry).  They have a whole side story about Dani’s flirtatious relationship with a work colleague, but I really don’t know why it was there, except for the fact that Watkins and Corddry are pretty entertaining and likeable whenever they’re on screen.

Bell, Marino and Corrdry have all proven how funny they can be on Children’s Hospital, so the great work they do here was no surprise.  What was a surprise though, was Fred Melamed as Carol’s Father, Sam.  The way he milks ego and pompousness for laughs makes him the best part of In a World, in a cast of some of the best comedy performers working today.  But the more I think about it, the more I shouldn’t be surprised, because he showed the exact same scene stealing chops in the Coen Brothers way too under seen A Serious Man.

In a World may seem like the flimsiest premise you’ve ever heard for a movie.  A meme-tastic phrase, taken from one of the most niche careers you’ll find in a movie this side of Katherine Keener as a poet in Enough Said.  But star, writer and director Lake Bell, makes it about more than that.  And I don’t even just mean the gender inequality stuff either.  In a World is about a woman making it in a man’s world and all that, but it’s also about caring about your work, and making a difference in the world through that work, even if it seems as inconsequential as doing the voiceover over on a terrible looking movie’s trailer.  And to a degree, it also seems to be about Bell’s apparent real life hatred for grown woman who talk like “sexy babies”.

In a World
Directed By – Lake Bell
Written By – Lake Bell

 

MOVIE REVIEW | Hell Baby (2013)

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I’ve been really looking forward to Hell Baby. Co-writers and directors, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant are two of main guys behind the awesome TV show Reno 911.  They have the rare distinction of being huge names in the LA alt-comic community after Reno, while also writing blockbusters that make a butt load of cash, but the cool kids hate.  When combined, their screenplays have literally made billions of dollars.  Movies like Night at the Museum and Herbie: Fully Loaded.  They make no apologies for their mainstream work, but are also the first to make fun of it and their willingness to tow the studio line.  But with Hell Baby, they finally got the reigns to not just write, but also direct their movie on their terms.  And the result is kind of disappointing.


Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb play Jack and Vanessa, a married couple expecting twins, who just bought a rundown house in New Orleans.  They meet their neighbour F’Resnel, played by Keegan Michael Key who quickly established himself as the stand out in a very comedy pedigree heavy cast.  He casually lets himself into their house (not for the last time) and lets them know it’s been the scene of so many murders, neighbours now know it as ‘The Murder House’.  Almost immediately, Jack, Vanessa and the audience know there’s something not quite right about the house.  Almost just as immediately, Vanessa is full blown possessed and everyone knows it.

The cast is filled out by Lennon and Garant as strip club frequenting exorcists dispatched by the Vatican, Paul Scheer and Rob Heubel as the least professional (but not as funny) cops since Superbad, and Riki Lindhome as Leslies Bibb’s surprisingly naked sister.  Lennon, Garant, Scheer, Heubel and the afore mentioned Key are all sketch comedy veterans and milk more than a few moments of real funny.  The problem though is that you can see how hard they had to work to find that funny.

There are a couple of moments where you can really see Lennon and Garant stretching their legs and taking full advantage of the freedom they have with an R rating and no studio to appease.  The nudity, gore and violence are far from subtle and lead to some good laughs.  In particular, the way they deal with the titular baby is bizarre, disturbing, disgusting, tasteless and hilarious all at the same time.

Hell Baby has some really funny jokes and the cast is made up of consistently really funny people.  It just doesn’t add up to what it could or should be.  Maybe I was just expecting too much because I’m such a big fan of so many of the people involved, but I was ultimately underwhelmed.  I can’t help thinking I would have had a better time if I just re-watched some classic gear from all these dudes for the hundredth time.

Classic gear like these…
Paul Scheer & Rob Heubel
Keegan Michael Key
Rob Corddry
Robert Ben Garant
Thomas Lennon

Hell Baby
Directed By – Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant
Written By – Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant