Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day Fifty-two - Outsourced, or "Cliche, but somewhat on the nose and harmless."

I was totally in the mood for The Birdcage after yesterday's horrible revisit to early Murder, She Wrote. Unfortunately, at some point in the last few weeks between when I added it to my queue and having the desire, nay, need to watch it, the Williams/Lane/Hackman/Wiest comedy classic was dropped from Netflix.


So, instead, in dire need of a pickmeup (but when am I not, lately), I took a chance on what looked to be a possibly racist, possibly culturally aware romantic comedy, Outsourced.

And, yeah, there are a few bits that made me uncomfortable... especially when the leads, Todd and Asha, trade accents for a scene. It's a little amusing, mostly awkward, and partly forgiven as they lampshade just how horrible that particular bit was.

Overall, though, Outsourced is a fairly okay look at culture shock. Sure, it had cliched bits like the street urchin with a heart of gold and sticky fingers, but even as it's by the numbers, it's faithful to its outline without seeming too crass or heavy-handed. Even the crude bits are toned in such a way that they're funny, not gratuitous.

I just wish that the love story could've been the focus. Todd and Asha's courtship doesn't even start until their second act trip to pick up a wayward package and, even as it progresses, it's certainly not the focus of the feature as I would it want to be, being the lovesick lonely puppy that I am. What could have been a study of their relationship as a continuum is more just an intro picture for ignorant Westerners to the cultural basics of modern India.

I'm also not a fan of how they portray the caste system in the country. While, yes, there are very stark differences illustrated in the film between the high tech professionals and the very, very poor, even going so far as to reach an olive branch between the two and have a nice sit down to visually represent just how meager an existence so many people live there, it's only visually shown. I very much felt the need for verbal confirmation and discussion.

But, then again, I wanted a love story, so what do I know.

Personally, I was kind of confused with the way the call center imploded... I was sort of expecting them all to band together and form their own independent contracting group seeing as how the company was just going to write off all the equipment (save for the plasma screen that the American executive steals for himself), but I was pretty satisfied with Todd's homecoming as a more serene individual, better for his time in India.

And, it didn't hurt that the fade to black was on his phone ringing to Asha's Bollywood tune. No sappy reunion where one decides to take the plunge and commit to the other's world, just a nice moment where we know the possibility of their breaking convention exists and it's up to them to make it work out of our, the audience's, sight.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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