Do you think this will get me out of jury duty?
Whoa. Boots Riley just dropped the writing-directing debut of the year. Sorry to Bother You brilliantly satirizes present-day America, whether you like it or not. Oakland, CA resident Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield of Donald Glover’s “Atlanta”) lives in his uncle’s garage and desperately wants an awful telemarketing job to impress his artist girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson, Thor: Ragnarok). Soon, Cassius discovers he has a knack for telemarketing, thanks to his magical “white voice” that sounds surprisingly like David Cross, with which he can sell anything over the phone.
At the beginning of a telemarketers strike, Cassius is promoted to power caller, a position that allows him to move out of his garage apartment and buy an expensive new car. He also receives an invite to a party at the house of rich, white magnate Steve Lift (Armie Hammer); his company, WorryFree, offers to free workers of troubles like housing and jobs for life through lifetime contracts deemed not to be slavery by the government. It is at Lift’s house party that Sorry to Bother You, which already had a distinct sense of humor and loose grip on reality, loses its mind, but in a grand way. It is a stunning plot reveal, so the less said, the better.
Anyone who has ever chuckled at a Chuck Palahniuk novel will blow cola out of their nose at the dozens of Riley’s white-hot observations that are both keen and clever; jokes about Spin Doctors and The Last Dragon peacefully coexist with eye-opening aphorisms that cut to the quick of modern activism, reactivism and slacktivism. The lesser-known-to-unknown cast—Stanfield especially—never runs off the scathingly warped road of Riley’s not-quite-normal world. Sorry to Bother You is likely to polarize, but those open to its big-ticket mockery can get in on the ground floor of a guaranteed cult classic with mainstream potential.