Outsourced

Not rated yet!
Director
John Jeffcoat
Runtime
1 h 42 min
Release Date
12 September 2006
Genres
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Overview
After his entire department is outsourced, an American novelty products salesman heads to India to train his replacement.
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VJ Morton3
Right Wing Film Geek



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  • Toronto – capsules – Day 6

    Toronto – capsules – Day 6

    THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY [Wedding Daze] (Michael Ian Black, USA, 2)

    Crass Stupidity, Part I. I understand that the guidebook for a film festival needs to make every film sound appetizing, so I know better than to blame the Toronto Festival’s writers if a movie turns out to be bad. But there still is an implicit moral contract of a certain amount of truth-in-advertising. I knew this was a commercial comedy going in. I was not prepared for how utterly crass and juvenile THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY was — pace these explicit words of Noah Cowan: “Black’s timing and rhythm is unerringly precise. He takes a sophisticated, adult approach to situations that might otherwise yield cheap laughs.” THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY has a yarmulke-wearing character who designs such toys as “Jew-nicorns” (get it) and “Jew-la hoops” in the shape of the Star of David (get it … “Jew-la” … rhymes with “hula”). THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY has a scene in which a father talks to his newly-engaged son about marriage and what he needs to know about the facts of life. But now Dad can pass down to Son his favorite cock ring, for when he needs extra endurance (it did not help that the son is played by Jason Biggs, who starred in a great but identical-in-premise scene in AMERICAN PIE opposite “father” Eugene Levy). THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY has a scene in which a newly-engaged couple on a bus put their ears up against a woman’s bulging belly. This is the exchange close as I can recall: “I feel it kicking … I can hear a heartbeat … When is the baby due? … I’m not pregnant.” Yes, that’s the sophisticated, adult approach that doesn’t go far cheap laughs. Now, my complaint is not that I did not laugh and I found THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY unbearably crass and nihilistic (though I did … and I could rant all day about this film’s worldview and understanding of love). What I find funny is not Cowan’s or TIFF’s responsibility. Nor is it my point that I never enjoy cheap laughs and/or the turning off of adult sophistication — I still rather like PORKY’S, 25 years later. But there is noway, nohow, no two opinions on whether PLEASURE’s approach to humor is “cheap” or “sophisticated,” and thus the festival’s description is a lie. Noway otherwise. Nohow.

    COEURS [Private Fears in Public Places] (Alain Resnais, France, 9)

    This film may be profitting by the dogs surrounding it, but I rather doubt it. Even the people who don’t embrace COEURS as full-on-great like I do — like “Lee Walker,” Michael Sicinski (pan down to the 14th) and Theo acknowledge that Resnais’ direction and Eric Gauthier’s cinematography are nothing short of flawless and there is much to like in this movie, even if they don’t think it quite comes together, as I do. It’s a very English film, with a strong resemblance to BRIEF ENCOUNTER — covering a lot of the same emotional ground, within the same reserved emotional register and a similar “life goes on as we endure unhappily” ending. Stylewise, COEURS is simply an unimpeachable treat — loading up on the unnaturally dazzling and color-saturated images, but with light schemes like the fluorescent light tubes at bars, the glass-with-Macs look at an office, etc., which give that dazzling look a reality.

    As for content, I’m not ready to make the “Alain Resnais has found religion” speech (though I have some notes for a rough draft), but there’s no doubt that mortality casts its shadow over everything in this film by this 84-year-old Master. COUERS is filled with snow … all the fades between scenes are of fades to falling snow rather than the usual black (with IS used to great contrasting effect to mark the divisions among acts). It’s an image of winter, a memento mori, and an annual reminder that everything in this world ends, and not always on the terms we’d like. There is a scene between Charlotte and Lionel (brilliantly played by Sabine Azema and Pierre Arditi) in which the two discuss religion and Hell, which suddenly blinks from a familiar interior set to a snow-bound one. Charlotte is a rare figure in contemporary movies — a conventionally religious woman, a Catholic, who is never made a mockery of or the object of satire therein. She has a past, which is used to some comic effect, but … trying to vague … her sin doesn’t work as planned and it’s clearly shown as a one-off. But in this gentle snowbound exchange on the existence of Hell, she plainly has the upper hand as COEURS presents it. It’s a lovely scene but the one where I welled up the most was one in which Lionel described to Charlotte why he’s taking care of this comic tyrant of an old father. It’s unostentatious, dutiful and quietly moving in a way that middle-class middlebrow tragedy. Charlotte says at another point that “God blesses us with trials,” and neither COUERS nor the Toronto audience took it as a laugh line.

    I obviously did not find NOT ON THE LIPS to be off-puttingly stylized to the point of aggravation or alienation. But some did, and you can rest easy on that front (you might not like COEURS obviously, but *that* should not be a problem). There’s no mugging, no fourth-wall breaking, no rhyming couplets or songs, though there’s some very stylized lighting and Resnais keeps the seven principal characters within about a half-dozen settings, and within what-I-take-to-be Alan Ayckbourne’s structure. And I see I’ve written a lot about this film without mentioning the brilliant performance by Lambert Wilson, who goes from depressed to jaunty without changing a thing or overdoing it; the way the film does a Hong Song-soo by recapitulating romantic relationships (admittedly among an ensemble) from one act to the next; or the way the three videotapes Charlotte loans to Thierry (Andre Dussolier — another brilliant performance) change both in meaning and in content, for her, for him and his girlfriend. There’s just that much to love.

    OUTSOURCED (John Jeffcoat, USA, 2)

    Crass Stupidity, Part II. Despite its title, this movie just uses the phenomenon of shipping service jobs abroad as an excuse to get The Innocent Abroad for a culture-clash romantic comedy, of a very rote pedigree. But Jeffcoat is not Mark Twain, though. We get the driver assuring the American arriving in India, to train his call-service office’s replacements, that “our town is very clean.” Cut to man peeing against the wall. Ho ho ho. The hero’s name is “Todd,” but the Indians call him “Mr. Toad” (there’s a lot more in this vein. Apu on THE SIMPSONS speaks better English than most of these Indians, thankyouvirrymuch). We get jokes about having to rent the Kama Sutra Suite at the hotel, misunderstandings over what hand to use to eat versus to wipe your ass (I saw another movie with that same joke earlier today), and attempts to explain the differences between rubbers, erasers and condoms. Yuk yuk yuk. And it wouldn’t be a movie about India without a failed attempt to get beef or The Innocent Abroad wondering why there is a cow wandering about someplace incongruous. If any of this description sounds funny to you, by all means rush out and see OUTSOURCED. There is one scene that works, in which the romantic leads, Josh Hamilton (not a bad match for Ron Livingston in OFFICE SPACE) and Ayesha Dharker (best remembered by me for the great Tamil film THE TERRORIST) are on a ferry trip. They recite each’s stereotypes of the other in the other’s accents. Dharker’s American English is near-perfect and Hamilton’s Indian English is at least broad enough and self-aware to be funny. They’re an attractive couple, and the scene works because it crackles with wit and spontaneity rather than 100 bad standup routines.

    STILL LIFE (Jia Zhang-ke, China, 3)

    I capped off a wildly uneven day with this film, which was hastily-added for two days after its surprising win at Venice, where it took the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion. STILL LIFE has a scene where a rotating fan starts to move from right to left, but the fan blades don’t start to turn for a couple of seconds. Those couple of seconds sum up this snoozefest — lots of panning, but feeling nothing because the engine is dead. Some friends were convinced there were some video/color-correction issues. But obviously the film had arresting images of the effects of China’s plan to dam up the Yangtze River, flooding large areas in the resulting artificial lakes. Thus requiring a lot of demolition workers, the milieu through which the principal “character” moves in a quest to find his lost family from long ago (METAPHOR ALERT!!!!). And I enjoyed some of the images of buildings being demolished, and Jia’s framing of one demolition through the ripped hole in another building’s wall. Plus the sheer wtf-ness of a building suddenly blasting off into space. In other words, Jia has made a movie that would be really interesting if it weren’t boring as ass. To quote Mike D’Angelo apropos another film: “there are no human beings in [this] movie” (actually, there is one: the young man who tries to act like Chow Yun-fat. He disappears from the movie in its only moment of emotional heft). Everyone else mopes through this movie like a brain-damaged zombie on Ritalin. Double-dose. It’s as if Jia thinks that landscapes can create character. They cannot. And after a while, his attempts to substitute landscapes for things like incisive dialogue and psychology — both absent from these depressive undead/lumps of dead air — gets irritating. Impressive though it was, the dialogue when the central couple finally meet and discuss a divorce is so thumpingly banal that the (admittedly interesting in concept) way that the background changes as the camera tracks/pans around them didn’t impress me. It just aggravated me. At least, it was better than the top-prize winner at Cannes. But not as good as Berlin (TC).

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    September 15, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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  • It’s Toronto Time
    (”Outsourced” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    It’s Toronto Time

    I make my annual pilgrimage to the Toronto Film Festival starting tomorrow, and one person at work already has asked me specifically whether I’ll be seeing the Bush assassination movie.

    I had DOAP on my initial, broken-down-by-days short-list, and I have the scheduling notes to prove it. There are some plot resemblances to THE DAY OF THE JACKAL, so using an assassination (attempt) on a current named political figure as a fictional premise doesn’t per se trouble me (but more on that anon). And the style/premise — a muck-raking “documentary” set in the future tells the real story of what happened in the Bush Assassination — resembles the great ZELIG, which I think is one of Woody Allen’s two or three best films. In a different world, this is a movie I would, in principle, be interested in.

    Unless Noah Cowan’s description is completely bollixed (which would not be unprecedented … in fact in some cases, I’m downright hoping for it), I can’t imagine wanting to see this film at this festival. Most unconvincing line in Cowan’s description — “The film is never a personal attack on Bush; Range simply seeks to explore the potential consequences that might follow from the President’s policies and actions.” Reminds me of George Will’s description of how a negative-campaigning candidate defends his ads: “I am not being negative, I am merely alerting the public to my loathesome opponent’s squalid voting record.”

    I won’t relate the specific examples until Bilge puts up my Worst Moviegoing Experiences on the Nerve Screengrab blog, but I have had enough “lone Celtic supporter at the Rangers end” moments to know how art-house and film-festival audiences will consume DOAP which will inevitably color my reaction. At Toronto, “Fidelista” is a term of praise (just read this and weep) and Bush Derangement Syndrome and Christophobia are normal. First example to pop into my head from this year, go to the listing for AMAZING GRACE and ask yourself how you would know, other than a vague and unspecified reference to “man of the cloth,” whether religion might be involved and (more specifically) how, and what the title might refer to (you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a reference to how hot the chick in the picture is).

    In this time, at that context, DOAP will be consumed as a masturbatory fantasy and I wouldn’t put a round of applause or cheering. Maybe someday, alone, after the film has died its death and nobody remembers how Karl Rove tried to turn Valerie Plame over to Osama bin Laden in exchange for campaign contributions to pay off Katharine Harris (that IS what he did, right?), I’ll see DOAP Not now.

    I dunno why this film hasn’t gotten as much flak. But if DOAP is inherently and a priori distasteful, it’s hard to see why a film called HOW I PLANNED TO KILL TONY BLAIR wouldn’t be. Still, while I’m pretty much past the point of interest in anything the artist/bohemian class thinks it has to say about politics, I will be going to see at least one political doc. THE DIXIE CHICKS: SHUT UP AND SING has the potential to be a HARLAN COUNTY USA (director Barbara Kopple, plus my unfamiliarity with the Chicks’s music, is why I’m interested) or the few minutes of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 that I managed to endure when I finally broke down a few months ago and it was playing on a free channel (Sundance). When I know the personages involved, I try to pay as little attention to the descriptions in the Festival Guidebook, so I’ll approach DIXIE CHICKS with the guarded optimism that is obligatory.

    As for my schedule, this year was one of the worst for not getting my first choices — I must have drawn a bad box. For the couple of days, i.e., opening weekend, I mostly got second-choice films (though mostly pretty good ones) and overall missed more than a half-dozen of my first choices.

    I didn’t get the single to-the-general-public morning screenings of Gala presentations and likely fall awards-bait VOLVER by Almodovar and Inarritu’s BABEL, the former of which I’m more bummed about and will consider going into the rush line to see if I can get a ticket. After all, Almodovar has reportedly managed to get a tolerable performance from Penelope Cruz, acting in Spanish again and who, like Sophia Loren (a previous generation’s favorite Latin sexpot), is much better in her native language.

    Some of the other not-gotten 1st choices, all of which I’m considering rushing:
    ● There is much anger in me when I not getting much ticket to important Kazakhstani cinema. Will start and joining with campaign against racist film making many funs of great country Kazakhstan.
    ● I should have known that the title THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO CINEMA would just be too attractive to too many, even (especially) to those with no knowledge of Slavoj Zizek (apparently playing a Michael Palin-like guide). I hope they choke on the Lacanisms.
    ● Why the heck would a Kore-eda film (HANA) be a big buzz item? I thought NOBODY KNOWS was a masterpiece, but it was not a crowd-please at all. And while it did win a general release, it flopped.
    No Maddin 06. Like with the Kore-eda I hope it’s because a great filmmaker is finally winning an audience, but man, this would have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience — seeing a silent film with an orchestra, which includes a sound-effects team, a singer and a narrator. The kind of screening a festival is made for.

    But I can’t complain too hard. Here is my schedule of the films I got ticket for, and it’s a good mix of foreign and English, my favorite auteurs and buzz titles, austere and popcorn, and a few blind stabs in the dark — exactly what a festival is about:

    7 Sept
    02:00pm The Magic Flute (Kenneth Branagh, Britain)
    09:00pm The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany)

    8 Sept
    09:00am 12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)

    Dunno why I got both my 1st and 2nd choices for this time … will sort out later

    09:30am The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, Canada)
    11:45am Requiem (Hand-Christian Schmid, Germany)
    03:00pm Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey)
    06:15pm A Grave-Keeper’s Tale (Chitra Palekar, India)
    09:00pm Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show (Ari Sandel, USA)
    midnight The Host (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea)

    9 Sept
    09:15am La Tourneuse de Pages (Denis Dercourt, France)
    noon The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, Britain)
    03:00pm The Fall (Tarsem, Britain/India)
    06:30pm Half Moon (Bahman Ghobadi, Iran)
    09:15pm Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)

    10 Sept
    03:15pm Born and Bred (Pablo Trapero, Argentina)
    06:30pm Offside (Jafar Panahi, Iran)
    08:45pm Cashback (Sean Ellis, Britain)

    11 Sept
    09:30am All The King’s Men (Steve Zaillian, USA)
    noon For Your Consideration (Christopher Guest, USA)
    03:30pm 10 Items or Less (Brad Silberling, USA)
    06:00pm Fay Grim (Hal Hartley, USA)
    09:00pm I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan)

    12 Sept
    09:00am Takva – A Man’s Fear of God (Ozer Kiziltan, Turkey)
    11:45am The Pleasure of Your Company (Michael Ian Black, USA)
    03:00pm Coeurs (Alain Resnais, France)
    05:30pm Outsourced (John Jeffcoat, USA)
    midnight Trapped Ashes (Joe Dante, Ken Russell, Sean Cunningham, Monte Hellman, John Gaeta, USA)

    13 Sept
    09:30am Dixie Chicks – Shut Up and Sing (Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, USA)
    noon Mon Meilleur Ami (Patrice Leconte, France)
    02:30pm Little Children (Todd Field, USA)
    04:45pm Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul aka “Joe,” Thailand)
    09:00pm Grbavica (Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia)

    14 Sept
    noon Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, Britain)
    03:00pm The Fountain (Darren Aronovsky, USA)
    06:00pm King and the Clown (Lee Jun-ik, South Korea)
    09:30pm Red Road (Andrea Arnold, Britain)
    midnight Severance (Christopher Smith, Britain)

    15 Sept
    09:45am A Few Days Later (Niki Karimi, Iran)
    12:45pm The Island (Pavel Lounguine, Russia)
    03:00pm Seraphim Falls (David von Ancken, USA)
    09:00pm Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira, France)

    16 Sept
    08:45am The Dog Problem (Scott Caan, USA)
    noon The Banquet (Feng Xiaogang, China)
    04:45pm Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog, USA)
    09:00pm Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismaki, Finland)

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  • Toronto – Days 6 and 7 – grades
    (”Outsourced” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Toronto – Days 6 and 7 – grades

    The Pleasure of Your Company (Michael Ian Black, USA, 2)
    Coeurs (Alain Resnais, France, 9)
    Outsourced (John Jeffcoat, USA, 2)
    Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke, China, 3)

    The Dixie Chicks – Shut Up and Sing (Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, USA, 6)¹
    Mon Meilleur Ami (Patrice Leconte, France, 8)
    Little Children (Todd Field, USA, 6)
    Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul aka “Joe,” Thailand, 7)
    Grbavica (Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia, 5)

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