Critics' Pick

Sorry to Bother You (R)

Comedy 105 min. July 13, 2018
By April Wolfe
Boots Riley's profoundly hilarious, disturbing, shocking and stirring directorial debut, Sorry to Bother You is a balls-to-the-wall, tits-to-the-glass spectacular orgy of fist-pumping anti-capitalist, pro-labor ideas rolled into 105 minutes of gloriously unpredictable plot. And just when you thought the film couldn't get any more bizarre, Riley's surrealist comic moral tale -- about a poor man selling his soul to ascend in a golden elevator to the heights of a dubious corporation -- verges suddenly into science fiction.

Cassius "Cash" Green (Lakeith Stanfield) bunks in his uncle's Oakland garage, so poor that he measures his gas-tank fill-ups in jingle change. His provocative artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) sticks by his side, ride or die — Cash may be broke, but he's still got his heart and his values. That all changes when Cash gets a job at a call center and becomes the best telemarketer in the building, thanks to his cubicle-mate Langston (Danny Glover) giving him the secret to success: Use your "white voice." From then on, whenever Cash makes a call, the nasally tones of comedian David Cross emit from his mouth. Speaking whitely, he wheedles people on the other end of the line into buying whatever the hell it is that he's selling. Cash's rise to wealth within the company separates him from his friends, who are plotting a strike, and Riley's depiction of the clan of elite assholes at the top is sheer brilliance. If you thought Silicon Valley's skewering of tech bros was cutting, Riley's version of a Bay Area capitalist asshole (embodied by a transcendently evil Armie Hammer) is diced up with a block of QVC-sold Ginsu knives: messy and satisfyingly shredded.
Boots Riley Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover Boots Riley Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, Charles D. King, George Rush Annapurna Pictures

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