Written by Peg Bogema, Diane Cheklich,
Directed by Diane Cheklich
Running Time: 1:32
I gave Offshore all the chances in the world to be a good movie, but it disappointed me at every turn.
Fairfax Furniture's call center is about to be sent over to India... but it will be taken over by a company which doesn't really exist. Voxx manages the call center for a single pizza parlor but beyond that, they are nothing but an empty office space in India. They sent three of their newly hired employees to Fairfax to be trained by the outgoing staff. Needless to say, the outgoing staff isn't happy about their impending firings and take it upon themselves to make the new Indians extremely miserable. Egged on by an over ambitious reporter who wants the big story, the Fairfax employees do everything in their power to send the new guys back to India.
For movie such as Offshore, I'll forgive things like low production values and substandard acting. I appreciate the hard work it takes to make a film on your own and you often cut costs wherever possible. I don't know for sure how much money the filmmakers had to make Offshore or whether the actors were all friends, but regardless, that's not all that important. But what I can't forgive is bad storytelling... why spend years putting a film together only to tell a bad story? First off, I couldn't for the life of me tell if this was meant to be primarily a comedy or a drama. And if it was meant to be a mixture of both, it still fell flat. The characters, especially Ajay, the head of Voxx in India (along with his father), were extremely dumb. Part of that has to do with the acting, but it's also the way the characters were written. Ajay was made to be overwhelmed by what he has accomplished and not quite sure of what to do next. His father was just as bad, looking like all he wanted was to get a satellite dish out of the job. Carol, one of the women being displaced from Fairfax, was over the top bad. OK so in this instance I fault the acting. Her facial expressions were kind of scary, which wasn't always a good thing. The rest of the cast, save for a couple of other over-the-top employees, weren't bad. In fact, the only real good things about the movie were the three Indians who came to the U.S. for training.
Nikhil, Anjali and Reva were very likeable characters, each with their own traits. Nik wanted to show he was ready to step up and lead. He was the calm one in the face of all that was being thrown at them, always ready to take the challenge head on. Reva was a former phone sex operator who had all the phone experience in the world but was looking to try something new, and slightly more acceptable. Anjali was the young, scared one, desperate not to make mistakes which only led her to make them. Most importantly, when they got to the U.S. all they had was each other and that bond is what I liked the most. They fought at times but really had each other's back. Bridgette was another one of the soon-to-be displaced Fairfax employees who initially hated the Indians, but later started to understand it wasn't their fault. Her character was the only character who really transformed during the movie. Everyone else stayed on their singular path which ended up making them boring.
The movie had an interesting premise... what happens when the people replacing you need to be trained by you? How would you react? But the way it played out wasn't very smart. The biggest problem was that in the middle of this compelling possibility, there was another story that dealt with the CEO vs. the owner of the company. They apparently didn't like each other and the owner was using this call center idea as a way of tossing the CEO out. Well why didn't she just fire him? Why humiliate him? I never saw the purpose in that. The other story line that was involved was with the reporter who kept egging Carol on so she could an even better story. But then she suddenly faded out when she met up with the owner who promised her an even bigger story, which never materialized. But I really soured on the movie during one completely unnecessary and inexplicable scene.
The new Indian workers were going through their training and were taking faked calls from customers. In reality, the calls were coming from a current employee who was a complete racist. And by the way, the way he was written was so cookie cutter it was embarrassing. So he calls in and Reva takes the call. The guy starts making comments about her phone sex background and she sends it right back to him. Well apparently he may have called sex lines and was angry he was found out, even though Reva had NO idea who he was. So what does he do? He attacks her in a parking lot with a knife! What in God's name was the point of that? There was nothing previously in the movie that could have led to that scene being acceptable. It was completely out of the context of the rest of the movie and it turned me off to the film. While I was able to sit through the rest of the movie happily enough, once that scene happened it was all I could do to just fast forward to the end and get rid of it.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I did not like Offshore. It had an interesting premise and three likeable characters, but nothing else about it was enjoyable, especially the out of nowhere knife attack. The filmmakers need to go back to the drawing board and try again.
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