Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

January 2, 2009

Culture curry

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 8:38 pm

January 02, 2009

Cast: Josh Hamilton, Ayesha Dharker

Director: John Jeffcoat

In Outsourced, which also opens at the multiplexes this weekend, things couldn’t be going any worse for Seattle yuppie Todd Anderson (played by Josh Hamilton) when his job managing a call centre for novelty products is outsourced to India, and he must travel there to train his replacement.

Your standard fish-out-of-water story, with jokes on everything from straying cows to street food-led-diarrhoea, the film revisits all the usual clichés you’ve come to expect in cross-cultural comedies like these.

Expectedly then, the typically insensitive American desperate to find a cheeseburger in a small town gets his symbolic baptism on Holi when he’s doused with colour and wades into a pond only to come out enlightened about embracing his new surroundings, and in love with a cute co-worker.

Like most films cut from the same cloth, Outsourced, too, beneath all its shameless Indian typecasting, is intended as a celebration of cultural diversity, and an affirmation that despite differences in race and religion, all people are essentially the same. It’s a predictable message and it’s arrived at predictably – after presenting a catalogue of stereotypes on both sides of the India-America divide which feeds the farce.

About the only merit in this film is the sincerity Ayesha Dharker applies to her character of the earnest call centre employee who hooks up with Anderson and inspires him to reconsider his workaholic life.

That apart, Outsourced is a string of rusty old jokes that aren’t all that funny anymore.

I’m going with two out of five for Outsourced; it’s a film in which everything ends as expected, just not soon enough. Watch it, but only if you have nothing better to do.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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