The Other End of the Line

James Dodson

BY Katarina GligorijevicPublished Oct 31, 2008

Director James Dodson has finally broken out of a career of straight-to-video thrillers with this, his debut romantic comedy, the latest in what feels to me like a long line of "Indian girls coming to the West” romances. Perhaps it’s just Bride & Prejudice and this film but it feels like a trend.

Priya (Shirya, a star so famous in Bollywood she only needs one name) is a gorgeous call centre worker who lives in India but pretends to be American when talking to her callers. When a credit card snafu requires her to spend a lot of time on the line with a particular client, New York ad exec Granger (Jesse Metcalfe of Passions and Desperate Housewives), Priya finds herself falling for the sexy young voice on the other end of the line.

Of course, what’s a girl to do in a situation like that? Obviously, Priya tries her luck at love in America by travelling to San Francisco to meet the guy. Unfortunately, her family’s meddling (and the wackiness of her plan in the first place) threatens to unravel her web of lies and empty a bucket of cold water on the fledgling spark between her and Granger.

I wish I could tell you that The Other End of the Line had sinister colonialist undertones or something equally inflammatory and exciting but alas, it was just a so-so rom-com and the culture clash angle is relatively underplayed, considering how over the top it might have been.

In fact, the film is actually much like any other romantic comedy about any random pair of people, American or otherwise. There are the implausible lies that at first bring our couple together but then tear them apart. There’s the icy girlfriend (on his end) and the drippy arranged fiancé (on hers). There’s the meddling family, the sage best friend and the date montage set to music.

If you’re really a fan of the genre, then knock yourself out. At least both leads are charming and pretty.

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