In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94% (Critics) / 62% (Audience)
MetaScore: 81 – Universal acclaim
Directed By: Boots Riley
Written By: Boots Riley
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yuen and Armie Hammer
Studio: Annapurna Pictures
Most of all I loved that SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is capable of touching upon so many cultural touchstones and hot button issues of the day but never does so in as way that comes across as pandering or preachy. Instead each issue is seamlessly woven into the overall narrative of this totally original universe that writer/director Boots Riley has created and every time the focus switches to a different topic it feels like a perfectly natural transition.
The performances are also really good in SORRY TO BOTHER YOU. Lakeith Stanfield plays the film’s hero, Cassius Green in a jittery, disaffected way that makes him seem like he completely uncomfortable in his own skin but then flips it when he fully embraces his rise up the corporate ladder until he is until he realizes how evil the corporation he works for really is and becomes an awkward resistance fighter. As Cassius’ bohemian artist girlfriend, Tessa Thompson brings an enigmatic and rebellious sexiness to her character. And Armie Hammer is a hoot and a half as the billionaire capitalist asshat who is doing fringe science experiments to come up with a new and horrifying way to screw over workers even more.
And once SORRY TO BOTHER YOU makes a loony left turn into the Isle of Dr. Moreau territory and mutants start rampaging through the streets, this movie somehow makes all of the nonsense seem like it is perfectly normal in the world that Riley has created.
The movie dropped breadcrumbs of a potential full-blown romantic triangle subplot between Cassius, Detroit and their fellow telemarketer/worker’s rights activist Squeeze (played by Steven Yuen) but it was never given the full examination that I was hoping for which was a shame given that Tessa Thompson had good chemistry with both Lakeith Stanfield and Yuen.
The scene where Cassius is pressured into doing a rap freestyle at a predominately white party is one of the most cringe inducing moments in cinema.
Final Verdict: Beneath all the oddball kookiness, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU has something to say about everything from rampant consumerism to out of control corporatism to code switching to cultural assimilation but more than anything else it is just delightfully wacky.