The Other End of the Line

This meager cross-cultural romantic comedy stars Jesse Metcalfe as ultra-smooth New York advertising executive Granger and Bollywood actress Shriya Saran as Priya, the credit-card customer-service rep who falls for him over the phone thousands of miles away in Mumbai, India. They decide to meet in San Francisco, but because she's led him to believe she's an American (i.e., white girl) named Jennifer David, complications ensue when he begins courting this Indian woman he thinks is a stranger. On one level, director James Dodson's love story is so innocuously pleasant that attacking its obvious plot developments and sitcom-shallow observations about dating feels almost ungracious. But the one truly unforgivable element is Granger, who Metcalfe plays as the most noxious sort of self-satisfied yuppie creep who, amazingly, doesn't have to shed a fraction of his smugness to win Priya's heart. The Other End of the Line wants to show how people from different corners of the globe can make a connection, but in reality, the U.S.-obsessed Priya must defy her cultural mores and empty her measly bank account to be with the man of her dreams, while all Granger has to do is learn to tolerate spicy Indian food. At a time when our global standing is sinking like a stone, it's comforting to know that, at least on the big screen, we can still land the babes no matter how obnoxious we are.

 
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