Friday, May 29, 2009


Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Outsourcing of Job Fuels Revenge in Downsizing Sitcom

When the recession threatens to sink Fairfax Furniture, owner Helen Fairfax (Leanor Reizen) realizes she has to cut costs in order to save the family business. After all, it’s located in Detroit, one of the places hardest hit by the sagging economy because of its failing auto industry.
So, Helen enters a 10-year deal with Voxx of India to relocate her company’s call center to Bombay, and orders CEO Derek Anthony (Marty Bufalini) to inform his employees that their jobs will be outsourced in a couple of months. To add insult to injury, they’re asked to train their replacements being sent to Michigan from the Subcontinent by Voxx Chairman Devendra Tiwari (Satish Shah).
Not surprisingly, a few of the downsized telemarketers are so offended by that request they decide to make sure the transition is anything but smooth. Thus, when Nikhil (Neil Bhoopalam), Anjali (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee) and Reva (Malaika Shenoy) arrive in America, they find themselves not only ostracized but sabotaged at every turn.
The outraged females from Fairfax instigating the hijinks, Carol Silvers (Deb Tunis), Bridgette Mars (Emily Rose Merrell) and Amanda Chase (Alison Crockett) see themselves as freedom fighters rather than felons, although their pranks eventually escalate into racist remarks and criminal behavior. I’m not sure what director Diane Checklich was going for in this regard, because your characters are no longer sympathetic when behaving in such a mean-spirited fashion.
Given the current unemployment rate, I suppose there are lots of xenophobes who might find this sort of vengeance funny, and consider it almost their patriotic duty to root for displaced workers willing to do anything to prevent foreigners from taking American jobs. But heaven help us if this nation actually ever gets to the point where its citizens can rationalize taking the law into our own hands in opposition to outsourcing.
A cautionary sitcom so realistic about the specter of globalization it’s more likely to leave you with chills than in stitches.

Very Good (3 stars)
In English and Hindi with subtitles.
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: TMS Universal

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