Published Aug 28, 2008Taking the hot button topic of outsourcing and removing most of the political didactics in favour of exploring relationships between the people it impacts, Outsourced succeeds as a pleasant, if not particularly cinematic or complex, fish-out-of-water romantic comedy.
Cultural differences create most of the comedic elements, while human similarities and a visible love of the Indian landscape add the necessary romance and heart. After learning that his call centre is being outsourced to India, Seattle-based Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) is asked to travel halfway across the globe to train his replacement, Puro (Asif Basra). Fearing impending unemployment and the loss of stock options, Todd agrees and finds himself alone in a foreign land, unsure of how to adapt.
While teaching the newly formed call centre American pronunciations and providing some context to the tchotchkes that they are selling over the phone, Todd begins to learn about Indian culture and discovers some feelings of longing for the intelligent and independent Asha (Ayesha Dharker). Despite the romantic comedy template to, for the most part there is never a sense of forced sentimentality or forced formulaic resolutions.
The characters remain true to themselves and progress naturally, as does the relationship between Todd and Asha, even if they are all a little more kind and understanding than people in reality are. Customs are acknowledged but not doted on, leaving many potential complications at the door. The film is more interested in making the audience feel good, while poking light jabs at absurd American consumerism involving hotdog toasters and cheese-shaped hats, as well as the perceived "tacky aesthetic that is abundant and popular in India.
With affable leads, in particular Ayesha Dharker, and a pleasant, familiar story, audiences looking to feel good for an hour-and-a-half could do far worse. Those looking for any depth beyond that of the typical sitcom, however, will be disappointed. (Independent)