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  • Sorry to Bother You is a strange, surreal, hilarious satire guided by the intentionally unsteady hand of rapper-activist turned debut director, Boots Riley.

    It dabbles in commentary on media, society, race and working-class issues-so many poignant messages, some more successfully delivered than others. The fearless absurdism will likely distract some viewers from a couple of these messages, but I'm okay with that. I take this wonderful creation much more for its entertainment value than anything else.

    The messages that do resonate should come through clearly. Riley's story doesn't shroud itself in murky metaphors. It tells us exactly how to interpret the bizarre world he has created.

    Rising star LaKeith Stanfield plays Cassius 'Cash' Green, a deep-thinker who lives in his uncle's garage with his artistic girlfriend named Detroit (the invaluable Tessa Thompson). It comes as no surprise that a man who goes by Boots would opt to give his characters unusual names. These two are just the beginning.

    To collect enough scratch to keep up with his rent and put gas in the rusty bucket he drives, he takes a job as a telemarketer. When a wise elder advises him to use "white voice" to improve his sales, Cash starts to rake in the green.

    After he rises the ranks of the telemarketing world, ascending to the divine status of power caller, he attracts the attention of an eccentric, drug-fueled CEO, Steve Lift (Armie Hammer). His company, WorryFree (a place where employees feel anything but) hides a dark new idea. But when the secret leaks to the public, his stock unexpectedly skyrockets, and Lift is declared a pioneering genius.

    The rational-minded public undoubtedly opposed Lift's plan, but big business carried on. As union organizer Squeeze (Steve Yuen) explains to Cassius, "if you show people a problem, but they don't know what to do about it, they just learn to get used to it."

    If you think you have any of this plot figured out, think again. It makes a radical left turn in the third act that will tempt some viewers to jump ship. My advice: stay on board. Even if you don't want to totally buy in, just hang around to see where this new direction leads.

    The film flies along with such easy energy early, then hits turbulence when trying to figure out how to end this thing. Riley introduces so much psychedelic madness that by the end it's nearly impossible to wrap up the story. But at some point, one must come down from every trip.

    Even with as jarringly fantastical as it is, in many ways this movie also feels incredibly real. As Riley puts it, he strives to "break down reality to help us better understand it." Mission accomplished.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had high hopes for this movie and it fullfills half of it. I saw this at a special screening in Baltimore Parkway theatre yesterday and I still can't believe how strong the first of the movie is and how it gets derailed so quickly.

    The movie is about Cassius Green, a man who gets a telemarketing job and rising to the ranks using his "white voice". The concept alone lets people know the film deals with themes of identity. But this theme is tarnished by the big plot twist.

    SPOILER ALERT:

    The big twist is that the telemarketer's goal is to mutate workers into horse like beings in order to use them as labor and control them by making them snort this capsule that can be mistaken for cocaine. Sounds silly right? Because it is. None of that made sense literally came out of left field and you have to deal with for the last 30minutes - hour of the movie. And the ending has Cassius turn into the horse like being and come and destroy the big bad guy's mansion. It totally ruins the previous themes and becomes a weird, forced sci-fi movie. It's as if the director wanted to mash Get Out with District 9 together. It just doesn't work.

    The movie overall is hilarious. Literally the movie is PACKED with jokes from start to finish. The dubbing of the "white voice" is odd as sometimes the actors expressions and the voice don't match up. The animatronics are horrendous like TMNT 3 Bad. But the real crime is how they ditched this really thematic angle of the story dealing with identity crisis and how Cassius is selling out to "the man" due to his greed and traded it for a weird sci fi scene about mutation and how they're making slaves out of us.

    Although creative, the film suffers from its storytelling and for that it gets a 6/10. There's much to enjoy but you'll end up confused in the end.
  • I walked into this movie at an advance screening expecting something unique, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer brilliance of this satirical masterwork. Hilarious from beginning to end while also subversive, this film joins some of the finest satires of its generation--from "South Park" to some of the best episodes of "Saturday Night Live" to "Wild Tales."

    The story follows Cassius, an African-American telemarketer in Oakland. When told to use his "white voice" on the job while making calls, he quickly rises through the ranks of his profession--and ends up getting a hefty promotion. All of a sudden, things start to spiral out of control. I definitely won't give anything else away, as doing so would spoil what clearly must be experienced for oneself. The film's script is incredibly strong and is consistently hilarious. I laughed more while watching this film than any other movie in recent memory. Its dialogue is not only humorous, but incredibly frank and on-the-nose in its brutal honesty. The film's social consciousness and commentary intersect in ways that are thoughtful, snappy, and deeply rooted in (often unfortunately) a sense of genuine realism. Yet the film's image of the world is not equal to our society with microscopic precision, as its humor often tends to look at current societal issues with the mirror of a macabre fun-house.

    Performances in the film are outstanding throughout, and the film is incredibly engaging throughout its run time. Free of pacing issues, it moves at a fast pace and twists and turns so unusually that one will never know what could happen next. This erratic nature is truly part of the film's genius. If such a style of narrative filmmaking was attempted to be used as a technique in almost any other film, it would fail miserably, but Boots Riley was able to commendably stay one step ahead of audiences while making them laugh profusely and question why and how our society may be in deep-seated decline. Also noteworthy is the film's soundtrack, which is a superb mix of rap and pop. The movie can often be strange, but viewers will be all the more thankful for its genuine audaciousness upon the film's conclusion.

    Riley's ambitious filmmaking has a variety of possible influences (Spike Lee, Jordan Peele, Alejandro Inarritu, Charles Kaufman) yet feels wholly original--and genuinely, howlingly funny and socially relevant despite being so unconventional--from beginning to end. Very highly recommended. 10/10
  • I would definitely classify this movie as artsy. By that I mean that the writer tried to convey a message in an indirect and flamboyant manner.

    The appropriately named Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is a struggling, unemployed young man who wants to do something big with his life. He gets the opportunity when he's hired on at a telemarketing company. As he makes one sale after another he is offered the dream gig of being a PC (power caller). As a power caller he can change his life for the better but at what moral cost?

    The first half of the movie was really good. It had a good flow to it, the humor was funny, and the plot was clear. The last half of the movie was different, almost like two different people wrote and directed the first and second half. The flow of it seemed to taper off, the humor waned, and the message became almost abstract. As it was I was trying to fully understand all of the visual and verbal non sequiturs but then I became a bit bewildered with the direction the film went. It sort of devolved into something crude and crass. I'm sure there was a point in that but I didn't see a need.

    This was Boots Riley's writing and directorial debut. There was some promise here but I think it missed the mark. I hope he gets another shot to do another project and--whereas I don't want him to dumb it down or make it commercial--I'd like to see a more palatable movie.
  • Good: The concept was original and different and the first two-thirds of the movie were interesting/engaging. The film is filled with talent from Tessa Thompson to Armie Hammer. But the true standout is Lakeith Stanfield's character who is relatable with his struggles and goal in life of making a difference and mattering in the world. I do like the themes the film tackles like the corruption of big companies with its hunger for power and money.

    Bad: The film bounces around too much with its subplots. Near the end, the story goes for more of a shock value and the social problems it started to develop gets lost in a bad acid trip. Some of the ideas and characters were not fully developed as a result of the film being fast paced and messy. I personally did not find the jokes funny, but my audience was laughing for the most part.

    Overall: This film is a political satire so it is not for everyone, however I believe there is a certain crowd that will absolutely admire this film and praise it for its originality and humor. The film juggles too much, but I appreciate Boots Riley's first time directorial debut ambitions.

    3/5
  • I wanted to like this movie, and it DID have a few admirable features, but the great bulk of it was squandered potential. I've seen articles about Riley's political philosophy -- which is fine. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to write a script that will deliver on that promise. In the future -- if there is one -- maybe he'll develop some chops that will help him to focus and edit his story ideas.

    Some people will like this picture, and to them I say: Great. Wonderful. Glad you had that positive experience.

    I wish I had one of those. For me, though, it was just the opposite. I got bored after the first act and stopped rooting for the protagonist. After that point, I felt trapped.

    All I can say is: Thank God for Movie Pass. I would be really bummed if I had spent my own money for this show. As it was, I "only" wasted 105 minutes of my life.
  • Pros: the movie is a unique piece of B movie art.

    Lakeith Stanfield is a great actor.

    Tessa Thompson was a really interesting character.

    The movie was hilarious.

    Cons: It felt like the director was unsure on how to end the story, the protest scenes lingered for far too long.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You is a strange, but entertaining film about a black telemarketer trying to navigate a world that slowly shifts around him. The film brings an interesting and unique take on the world minorities live as they are forced within a socioeconomic ladder. Cassius Green, played by Keith Stanfield, is faced with selling out and abandoning his friends. Through this the audience sees he is drastically changed as his success transforms him to the very thing he resented.
  • Ok so I literally created an account just to review this movie let's go

    I saw this movie last night with a few of my friends. None of us knew anything about this movie going in other than it had something to do with telemarketing and was highly rated online. Afterwards, we had to go get some ice cream and sit down for a bit to scream and process what the hell we just watched.

    This movie is a surreal fever dream that has a few great scenes and something interesting to say about the socio-political atmosphere of the US right now, but is mostly just a total mindscrew of a movie with no real purpose or direction. The whole movie is confusing, feels like it's 4 hours long, and the goddamn horse-people freaked me out so much I felt like I was gonna have nightmares.

    I'm honestly really conflicted about this movie because it took some really interesting risks and clearly had some thought put into it, but it took such a bizarre turn that I genuinely feel like I can't understand what just happened. Obviously, it wasn't my kind of movie but if you go into it expecting a wild, nonsensical LSD trip then go for it, I guess.

    But beware the horses. I'm scared to sleep
  • Writing what you know is always wise. Artists writing about their art, easily gets incestuous and tiresome. Sorry to Bother You draws on experience and pulls in imagination in the blend of good science fiction.

    Future viewers will be discovering this one, for decades to come.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw "Sorry to Bother You", starring Lakeith Stanfield-Atlanta_tv, Get Out; Tessa Thompson-Westworld_tv, Thor:Ragnarok; Danny Glover-Proud Mary, the Lethal Weapon movies and Armie Hammer-The Birth of a Nation, Mirror Mirror. This is a weird movie. Now, I like weird but it has a lot of symbolism-which I'm not too fond of-and it is not like it is being advertised. From the trailers, it looks like a comedy about a telemarketer that finds a way to make money, and that is part of it, but then it goes into some really weird ......stuff. Lakeith plays the telemarketer trying to make a living-unsuccessfully-that gets tips from his co-worker, Danny, on how to use his 'white voice' to get more sales. FYI: David Cross does Lakeith's white voice, Patton Oswalt does another character's voice and Rosario Dawson does the voice of the elevator. Tessa plays Lakeith's girlfriend, who is an anti-establishment radical type. The other telemarketers decide to go on strike, just as Lakeith gets promoted and moves upstairs. That is where Lakeith meets Armie, the boss that is against unions-Duh!-and heads a separate company called 'Worry Free Living' that provides food, security and health care for anyone that will work for free. Then, there is the horse/human hybrids that are used as slave labor. Remember, I said weird. Forest Whitaker does one of the voices of the hybrids. This movie is not for everyone. It's directed by first timer Boots Riley, who is in a rap/hip hop group called 'The Coup'. It is different and if you like social satire and symbolism, you may enjoy it more than I did. It's rated "R" for language, drug use and sexual content-including nudity-and has a running time of 1 hour & 45 minutes. I would not buy it on DVD. I wouldn't rent it, either-unless I was high or something. If you really wanted to see it, I'd wait until it comes to cable.
  • I was excited to see it, but it went on and on and became more ridiculous. It started off clever and went downhill after the first 30 minutes. I'm sure it's supposed to be artsy and give a profound message. The only message I got was sometimes it's better to stay home and watch Netflix.
  • If you want to spend two hours of your life wondering why you're sitting through such a horrendous film, then this is the perfect movie for you. The movie had immense potential as a comedy about telemarketers, but instead took a turn for destruction when they decided to turn it into a sci-fi film about corporate oppression. Great potential, storyline ruined it. Do not waste your money on this movie. Apologies to every critic that enjoyed this film, but it left me befuddled.
  • Save your time and your money. Don't believe the hype. First act shows some promise but most of the humor never lands. Act 2 drags on but at this point you're already committed hoping something will happens.....then Something does happen in act 3 and.... you'll leave wondering what the heck did you just send your money and time watching. I think people who are giving it high praise believe that's just what their supposed to do but the fact is it's just a dumpster fire of a movie.
  • jctillery20 July 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    How did this movie ever get made!! This movie was barely "ok" then took a serious plot plummet with the horse people. I'm not kidding. Worse 2 hours I've spent in a long time. Maybe ever!
  • ksmoo16 July 2018
    I mean WTF??!! I like most of the cast in this movie, BUT this was TERRIBLE. Are people getting paid to say this movie is good? I RARELY write movie reviews but had to inform people of the facts on this one. WORSE THAN AWFUL. If i were not an AMC A-List member, i would have demanded my money back!!
  • I went into this movie with high Hope's. The trailer looked great and the reviews were high. I left dissatisfied. I just couldn't get interested in anything and found myself bored the whole movie. It was marketed as a comedy but I only half laughed at a few jokes. Most jokes just didn't land with me and felt forced. Its political commentary was interesting but didn't make the movie interesting at all. Also, the ending was just wierd and very "lol random." I expected some cool editing and cool shots through the whole movie, but only some shots where somewhat interesting and mostly bland. If you enjoyed this movie then more power to you. I really wish I did too
  • I wasn't sure what to make of it from the trailer, but it is one of the few films this year that's absurdly original from beginning to end.

    I should also note that although this is a thought provoking film, it doesn't leave you in a hazy "wtf was that / my brain is oatmeal now, thanks guy" mood when it's over. (Much like many artsy social commentary films.)

    Let go, and enjoy the ride!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This richly inventive satire may have been 10 years in the making but it speaks trenchantly to our moment. The title is the telemarketer's opening gambit, but it also works as a pseudo-apology to the film viewer for interrupting his entertainment-time with a rude awakening to our harsh social reality. The profit-uber-alles ethos is propelling us into a fascist state. The initial satire targets corporate salesmanship. Management create an illusion of "family" and "team" to harness their commission-only drones selling delusions of success through unnecessary products like encyclopedias. (There's an endangered species.) This is a sad view of our gig economy. But the telemarketer's prime customer has a larger humanity to numb. They offer Worry-Free Living, a sweeping assurance policy that will guarantee its clients a life of work, "security," minimal comfort, in short, an updated version of slavery. Company head Steve Lift carries the promise of improvement in his name. Even its glossy commercials reveal the system's total abandonment of privacy, of individual living. In exchange for guaranteed - i.e., unending - labour the clients enjoy living in rooms full of bunk beds, with drab uniforms and meals of slop provided. This is the no-worry life that can seduce individuals to resign their humanity. In offering to meet all its workers' earthly needs, that company seems to promise a kind of socialism. Instead it delivers a tyranny, a total reduction of its workers to a brutish life. Here the film parallels the conversion of the pretence to populism in America and Europe into right-wing fascism. Company head Lift takes his dehumanizing one step further. He is using a drug to turn his serfs into equine-sapiens, humans with exploded muscle strength but with the heads of horses. This brutalizing makes human labourers all the more efficient. For a saving grace, they get the horse's schlong too. Every cloud.... Our nebbish hero Cassius Green grabs the telemarketing gig as a last resort. His surprising flair gets him promoted to Power Caller, which llifts him to meeting the impressive Steve. Having succeeded as seller, Cassius is now converted to product. Lift offers him $100,000,000 to undergo the horse change and work as the company's agent in the workers' union for five years, after which a serum will - hopefully - return him to human normalcy. He gets to keep the schlong. Instead of accepting Cassius tries to expose Lift's nefarious scheme. But the company's spectacular profits valorize even that evil practice. Money talks; who knew? Only by submitting himself to painful abuse and humiliation on TV can Cassius air his scandalous revelation. The film's activism is encapsulated in Cassius's girlfreind, Detroit. She swings a sign-company's advert on a street corner, but her real calling is politically driven art. In addition to her paintings and sculpture, she does a performance piece in which she also maintains dignity in the face of the audience's (invited) abuse. That anticipates Cassius's strategy. Detroit's very name evokes the America of economic and racial injustice. In his name Cassius combines the "slave name" of the revolutionary fighter Mohammad Ali with the society's hunger for the long green, which also reduces Cassius to Cash. The central characters may be black but in the film's major concern race gives way to class. The traveling labour organizer Squeaze is Chinese. This struggle is not black vs white but Haves vs Haven'ts. In their speech Cassius and Detroit have left behind their street-smart. They speak white like Will Smith. But Cassius's sales success lies in his affecting an even whiter tone, the voice of the Privileged/Confident/Carefree. That's economic not racial. That voice sells and makes him a huge success-only to doom him to fulfill his user's baser intentions. Cassius's success not only pulls him away from his striking colleagues but dooms him to his boss's designs. This dystopian Oakland satires sends a clear message. Voters of the West unite. You have nothing to lose but tyranny.
  • Sorry to Bother You was a 1 hour 43 minute disaster. I was hoping for at least a few cheap laughs, but Sorry to Bother lacked a single redeeming quality. I even considered walking out several times during the movie.

    Whomever is hyping this train wreck must either be an actor or a studio executive, because Sorry to Bother You isn't deserving of a single star. Yes, the movie is that bad.

    Save your hard earned money, and go see something else.
  • Silly. Stupid. Dumb. Mindless. Poorly executed. A complete waste of time. I don't understand how this movie was even "green-lighted". Probably the worst movie I've ever seen! Go ahead and see for yourself, but don't say you weren't warned. The positive reviews are from movie snobs who think they are smarter than everyone else and recognize brilliance in pure garbage.
  • Not going to talk about the plot, because the trailer gives enough away, and the less you know about the movie going in the better. Needless to say, you never know where the movie's going, and it has it's fair share of surprises.

    I think Sorry to Bother you is the best satire of this generation, and could go down in history as a defining film of an era, maybe like Apocalypse Now. It does get wilder than you will be expecting, and it may be tempting to reject the movie for being over-the-top, but it is worth going along with the wildness.
  • Oh my was I disappointed. Here is a film touted by America's critics as the finest of satire and within five minutes the film proved to be hopeless. There is a long scene inside a rattle-trap of a car, the passengers shot from a camera supposedly mounted on the hood looking through the windshield, that was a badly mishandled as any scene ever shot. Likewise the dubbing of 'white voices' for 'black voices'; just awful. The theme is Faustian: sell your soul to the devil and reap the earthly rewards. And to the extent that the story follows through on the concept,. it's fine. But the production itself, the look and 'feel' of the film, the lack of spirit (more than once the film seems to die right before your eyes), the failure of the film is inescapable.

    Of course I don't know this, but perhaps the enthusiasm of the film's critics stems from their desire for something non-Hollywood; new, fresh, different. And I share their desire. But this film? Amateur Night. Only that.
  • Hilarious and nearly impossible to figure out where the movie is going to go next. The corporate satire is appropriate for the moment and the dystopian future is silly enough that it works. This movie doesn't take itself too seriously.

    The performances are what set this apart from just being a good comedy. Lakeith Stanfield brings the stoned, skeptical, world-weary vibe of Darius from Atlanta. Armie Hammer dominates as usual and Tessa Thompson is luminescent and serves as much more than just the necessary love interest.
  • I won't give anything away, but just prepare to be shocked and a little messed up by this movie. It's an understatement to say that it's not the movie you think you're gonna see. With that being said, it's got plenty of humor and we really liked it...but it definitely messed us up a little. You're gonna want to phone a friend after the movie ends so you can re-adjust to the real world.
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