An indie crowd pleaser with a timely message, John Jeffcoat’s Outsourced is a kind of globalization lite romantic comedy, simultaneously touching on some fairly grim issues with a soft focus lens. What is intriguing about the film, is that its broad if subtle perspective reaches out and assesses the cause and effect damage to both the US outsourcers and the outsourcing recipients in India.
Josh Hamilton is Todd, the thirtysomething perplexed manager at the Seattle Western Novelty knick-knack call center, about to be abruptly shut down and relocated to the outskirts of Bombay. Todd is reassured by his boss that his own job is secure – that is, until he travels to India to train the manager that will replace him.
Threatened with the loss of his benefits if he doesn’t agree to this scheme, Todd reluctantly packs his bags and departs for India. He initially approaches his task with a smoothly perfected passive aggressive agenda in mind, as he instructs the new manager to address prospective clients with all sorts of off-color unfamiliar English language idioms. But after a unfortunate digestive bout of the Third World runs, Todd begins to humanize and warm up to the culture and these new employees, especially as he begins to comprehend that everyone – Americans and Indians alike – are part of some treacherous multi-national design to screw over all of them.
Todd, after being dumped by his girlfriend back home, also discovers romance Indian style, with one of the fetching female employees, Asha, played by Ayesha Dharker (The Terrorist and Queen Jamillia in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones). Even if the traditional custom of arranged marriage decreed in childhood between the future partners, threatens to run major interference on the tenderly budding romance.
Outsourced is somewhat unsure of its footing, balancing unsteadily between its disparate themes of global worker exploitation, the celebration of cultural diversity, and falling in love. But this earnest effort to touch on an urgent and long neglected topic, however tempered with humor and occasional borderline silliness, is a refreshing and exhilarating cross-cultural journey.
Porchlight Home Entertainment
2 1/2 stars
DVD Features: Audio Commentary; Behind the Scenes; Interviews; Text/Photo Gallery; Storyboard; Theatrical Trailer.