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The Inscrutable Americans
Rajeev Punja, Eron Otcasek, Jana WilliamsDirector:
It's ten years too late, but that's the least of this film's problems. It's bigger flaws include the burgeoning desperation of wannabe directors who take it upon themselves to shoddily burlesque folks back home in a way that, ironically, is only appreciated by folks back home. Laughing at Indianisms, local accents and supposed moral dilemmas of the unaware and terribly repressed Indian is becoming a staple of such English films. But having done that, they don't know what else to say. Smug and flatulent with subcontinental stereotypes, these films achieve little else than a few polite guffaws. As yet another awkward, self-conscious and apologetic abcd film, The Inscrutable Americans is a well-made film, but without these appellations, it's a soaking squib. Unlike the others of this nascent genre, this one's a story of an Indian boy who arrives wide-eyed and salivating in the US and therefore seems a wee bit promising. However, that promise is not kept. Gopple (as the hero is called in America) meets Randy, who volunteers to 'devirginise' the fresh arrival. The boy, who's a chemical engineering wizard, surprisingly grapples with even the most simplistic of Americanisms and frustrates you with his incomprehension of human relationships (''Where in Lesbia are you from?'' he asks a lesbian pair). Gopple is besotted by female Americans (which include bar strippers, a masseuse, and eventually, an inflatable sex doll) and wants to fornicate with them. But that, we find out in his pathetic American saga, is something he can't manage, let alone handle. His resulting inadequacies are compounded by a racist attack where Gopple is mistaken for an Iranian. Beaten and confused, Gopple decides to head home but is convinced by the goodness of his few friends that America is not that bad. During all this, he falls in love with Sue, a beautiful, white, blonde college-mate, only to break into imaginary gigs around leafy green vegetation. Sue, we gather, is also warming up to Gopple but the reverie is broken when he spies her talking intimately to a (male) friend. Gopple turns monosyllabic and small-minded. By then it is time to leave and go back home. At the airport, a friend of Gopple eggs him on to give his unriddable virginity one last shrug. Sadly the woman in question turns out to be a man. Laugh if you must but remember the joke's, ultimately, on you.