There are about a thousand funny things happening in “In a World.”
First, there’s the insular community in which it’s set: voice-over artists competing to be the next Don LaFontaine, the guy who practically patented the phrase, “In a world ...” at the beginning of movie previews of coming attractions.
As in such Christopher Guest movies as “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman,” “In a World” is set in a tiny back-bitey community of people, and their sense of their own importance is hilarious as they compete for the gig doing trailers for a “Hunger Games”-like “quadrilogy” — an idiotic word they use over and over to increasing comic effect.
Lake Bell, who wrote the quick-witted script and directed, plays voice-over wannabe Carol. Her pompous dad (Fred Melamed) resents her attempts to invade his professional territory, and Carol and her neurotic sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins, who is gut-bustingly funny), resent each other’s choices but not as much as they resent their father’s relationship with a dim-witted woman who is younger, dumber and blonder than they are.
A well-disguised romantic comedy involves Carol’s fling with a vain voice-over superstar (Ken Marino), while two colleagues who seem more suitable (played by wry Nick Offerman and sweet-natured Demetri Martin) lurk in the background. For good measure, Dani and her husband (Rob Corddry) weather a rough spot in their happy, somewhat crabby marriage.
The film is smart about relationships — in a world where starved romcom fans have been waiting all summer for a movie just like it.