Sorry to Bother You
Ambitious Telemarketer Joins the 1 Percent in Sophisticated Social Satire
To describe Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfied) as struggling would be a major understatement. He and his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) are four months behind on their rent on an unfinished garage apartment in inner city Oakland. The only reason they haven’t been evicted is that their landlord is Cash’s compassionate Uncle Sergio (Terry Crews). He’s been willing to wait to be paid, and even gave his nephew a car for free.
Cash has been unemployed, but it isn’t for a lack of trying. His luck changes when, despite being caught lying on his résumé during a job interview, he’s hired anyway because the interviewer admired his ingenuity. The hope is that he’d bring the same ambition to his entry-level gig as a telemarketer.
It’s impressed upon Cash during his training to “Stick to the Script,” if he wants to succeed. Plus, he gets a valuable tip from an African-American colleague (Danny Glover) in the neighboring cubicle, namely, “Use your white voice.”
Between dropping his black accent and following the company’s guidelines, Cash earns a coveted promotion to power caller. Suddenly, he’s making enough money to pay off Uncle Sergio, buy a new car and move into a fancy flat in an upscale neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the raise proves to be a mixed blessing for Cash. First, it creates tension between him and the buddies he left behind on the floor of the crowded call center, since they’re still making minimum wage and are in the midst of organizing a union over the objections of management. And then his politically active, performance artist girlfriend is disappointed when he crosses the picket line and dubs him a “scab.”
Thus unfolds Sorry to Bother You, a thought-provoking social satire marking the scriptwriting and directorial debut of Boots Riley. If the name rings a bell, that’s because he’s better known as the founder of the radical, hip hop group, The Coup, as well as one of the most dynamic leaders of the Occupy Oakland Movement kick started back in 2011.
The film certainly reflects Boots’ far left leanings, but is clever and entertaining enough to recommend even to members of the 1 percent!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, graphic nudity, ethnic slurs, violence, pervasive profanity and drug use
Running time: 105 minutes
Production Studios:Cinereach / Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions / Macro / MNM Creative /The Space Program
Distributor: Annapurna Pictures
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening July 13, 2018
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (PG for action and rude humor) Third installment in the animated franchise finds Dracula (Adam Sandler), daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the rest of the family embarking on a luxury cruise for monsters where the Count falls head-over-heels for the ship’s mysterious captain (Kathryn Hahn). Voice cast includes Mel Brooks, Keegan-Michael Key, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Andy Samberg, David Spade and Chrissy Teigen.
Skyscraper (PG-13 for action, violence and brief profanity) Disaster thriller, set in Hong Kong, starring Dwayne Johnson as a disabled war veteran-turned-security expert suspected of setting the world’s tallest building on fire who has to catch the terrorists responsible while simultaneously saving his family trapped on the top floor of the towering inferno. With Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber and Noah Taylor.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN
Dark Money (Unrated) Eye-opening exposé examining the influence of money on American elections since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizen United allowing unlimited corporate contributions to political causes.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (R for sexuality, nudity, alcohol abuse and pervasive profanity) Gus Van Zant (Milk) directed this adaptation of John Callahan’s (Joaquin Phoenix) bittersweet memoir of the same name about his adjustment to living in a wheelchair in the wake of a catastrophic car accident. Cast includes Rooney Mara, Jack Black and Jonah Hill.
Eighth Grade (R for profanity and sexuality) Coming-of-age comedy chronicling a tormented 13-year-old’s (Elsie Fisher) disastrous last week of middle school. With Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson and Missy Yager.
Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti (Unrated) Romance drama, set in 1891, recounting French painter Paul Gauguin’s (Vincent Cassel) abandoning his wife (Pernille Bergendorff) and five kids for a nubile native girl (Tuhei Adams) he met while finding himself on an exotic island. With Malik Zidi, Marc Barbe and Paul Jeanson. (In French and Polynesian with subtitles.)
Milford Graves: Full Mantis (Unrated) Reverential retrospective chronicling the career of avant-garde jazz drummer/percussionist Milford Graves who over the course of an enduring six-decade career has led his own band and also played in groups led by Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Montego Joe, Kenny Clarke and Paul Bley.
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (Unrated) Intimate post mortem painting a revealing portrait of the late comedian via archival footage and interviews with some of his closest colleagues and confidantes. Featuring commentary by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and David Letterman.
Shock and Awe (R for profanity and sexual references) Fact-based drama recounting five Knight-Ridder reporters’ skepticism about the Bush Administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction during the buildup to the War in Iraq. Directed by Rob Reiner and co-starring James Marsden, Jessica Biel, Woody Harrelson, Milla Jovovich and Tommy Lee Jones.
Soorma (PG-13 for mature themes including a bloody image) Inspirational biopic chronicling the comeback of Sandeep Singh (Diljit Dosanjh), a field hockey star left paralyzed by a gunshot wound recovered and led India to the 2012 Olympics. With Tapsee Pannu, Angad Bedi and Danish Husain. (In Hindi with subtitles.)