Starring Josh Hamilton and Ayesha Dharker. Rated PG. Opens Friday, August 29, at the Ridge Theatre
Outsourced, a culture-clash comedy that hits almost everything right, manages to make sharp points about the harshness of globalization without losing sight of the individuals affected by economic ebb and flow.
Kicking and Screaming’s Josh Hamilton is a perfect Everyguy for the role of Todd Anderson, a mid-level telemarketing manager whose world is literally upended when his Pacific Northwest company is suddenly out-you-know-whatted to India, and he’s sent there to supervise the new call centre. Naturally, Todd—dubbed Mr. Toad by everyone he meets in a more rustic town near Bombay—is flabbergasted by the way things work, or don’t. Wandering cows, errant electricity, unfamiliar toilets, and too many family photos in the cubicle are just some of the things soon freaking him out.
Cynical Yank that he is, Todd isn’t entirely closed to new experiences, especially when they come attached to the centre’s best worker, vivacious Asha (Ayesha Dharker). With her giant eyes, razor wit, and mile-wide smile, she undoes some of his assumptions, but the script, by Seattle-based director John Jeffcoat and writer-producer George Wing (50 First Dates), doesn’t depend on the romantic angle to get everything across. And the comedy doesn’t blunt its message about corporate greed, which places cheap labour above all other values. (It would never occur to Todd’s boss, amusingly played by Matt Smith, that there are moral issues attached to any of his checkbook decisions.)
In the end, the good-looking Outsourced steals our hearts with a view of India, and the changing world, that is neither starry-eyed nor overly condescending, even if the outcome is predictable. Come to think of it, this movie is so good, I’ll take two.