The Hollywood Reporter Film Review: The Other End of the Line
Bottom Line: A charming old-fashioned romantic comedy transposed to today’s global dating world.
CANNES — East meets West in a beguiling, old-fashioned romantic comedy set in today’s global economy. An updated romancer, “The Other End of the Line” hooks up an Indian credit-card rep with a San Francisco-based client. Buoyed with the humor of cross-cultural misunderstanding and traditions of romantic screwball comedy, this MGM release (playing in the Market here at Cannes) is a comedy of manners that should connect with both sexes.
In this broad-minded scenario, a young Indian woman becomes romantically intrigued by an across-the-world client. She’s a dutiful daughter who is going through the pangs of an arranged engagement (to a well-meaning nerd, naturally), and he’s a U.S. yuppie in the final stages of a breakup with Ms. Right, a match that only looks good to others.
Although she is a good daughter, she’s also a free spirit. Against all her Indian-upbringing, she bounds off to San Francisco to meet with the “client.” Of course, she cannot let on that she’s traveled all the way from India for a, seemingly, casual get-together. Her instincts have proven magically correct: Sparks fly. Yet, as their attraction kindles, their respective guises and well-meaning deceits sabotage the courtship. Most alarmingly, her hypertensive, ultra-traditional father has followed her to California, intent on rescuing her.
In the grand tradition of screwball comedies where the “players” try to get together but are constantly kept apart by their own subterfuges, the romantic arc is aptly exasperating as they struggle to make their connection. Best of all, we root for these two to get together. Screenwriter Tracey Jackson has perceptively created two characters who seem ideally suited to each other. Our match-making instincts are further stoked by the charismatic and engaging lead performances of Jesse Metcalfe and Shriya.
Under director James Dodson’s deft direction, comic zaniness is winningly wed to a tender story sensibility.
Film review by Duane Byrge originally appeared on THR.com on May 27, 2008.