Sorry to Bother You

Critics Consensus

Fearlessly ambitious, scathingly funny, and thoroughly original, Sorry to Bother You loudly heralds the arrival of a fresh filmmaking talent in writer-director Boots Riley.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 283

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,627
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Movie Info

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe of "powercalling" that leads to material glory. But the upswing in Cassius' career raises serious red flags with his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a performance artist and minimum-wage striver who's secretly part of a Banksy-style activist collective. As his friends and co-workers organize in protest of corporate oppression, Cassius falls under the spell of his company's cocaine-snorting CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.

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Cast

LaKeith Stanfield
as Cassius Green
Armie Hammer
as Steve Lift
Terry Crews
as Sergio Green
Steven Yeun
as Squeeze
Omari Hardwick
as Mr. Blank
Danny Glover
as Langston
Patton Oswalt
as White Mr. Blank
David Cross
as White Cassius Green
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Critic Reviews for Sorry to Bother You

All Critics (283) | Top Critics (51)

Audience Reviews for Sorry to Bother You

  • Mar 05, 2019
    The trailers to this movie led me to believe it would be sort of a dark comedy with some social commentary, and yeah, that's definitely part of it, but damn is that only PART of it. This movie is godamn wild, and it takes several turns (especially in it's final act) that you're either going to go with or going to be incredibly turned off by. Personally, I was surprisingly willing to be along for the ride. There's an anarchic energy to the whole movie that never ends even in it's most banal moments so that even when it truly goes bonkers, it never seemed too out of the ordinary to the films world for me. It's so wildly original too, that I genuinely had no idea where it was going to go, and my predictions were usually wrong. It doesn't all work, some of it hits the nail on the head a little too hard and some moments (especially the final moments, literally the last seconds of the film) seem more for shock value than anything else, but it's more hits than misses. It's probably going to be divisive movie, but for me I was surprisingly with it.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2019
    Such a great level of surrealism. I love when the setting is completely believeable, normal people, who could easily be from our world, but their's is totally weird. One criticism I will give is the imperfections in the dubbing, normally not a big deal, but dubbing is so absolutely vital to the story of Sorry to Bother You that it is hard to get past. It was still a very pleasant surprise though, one I recommend, and one I particularly commend the core cast's performance in.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2018
    Although the sharp sense of humor is only one step away from being laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is a smart absurdist satire on conformism and modern alienation that couldn't feel more realistic even as it confidently moves towards surrealism in ways that are quite unexpected.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2018
    While watching "Sorry to Bother You" I couldn't help but to come to concentrate on what Riley's thesis must have been for this piece. It is beyond evident that the guy has an objective and something to say that he wants to communicate in an effective and aesthetically pleasing way, but when you get down to it and clear away all of these facets that give off this impression of being just batshit crazy what is it that Riley really wants to spark a conversation around? By the time the film came to an end it seemed it was this idea as phrased by a line in the movie that goes, "if you're shown a problem and have no idea how to solve it, you just get used to the problem" that really cuts to the heart of it all. Given where "Sorry to Bother You" goes and the actions that occur within this company run by Armie Hammer's coke-snorting maniac Steve Lift known as Worry Free Riley is posing that as crazy as what this corporation is doing seems if our society were to become conditioned to such expectations there wouldn't be a second thought given to it. This crazy ass evolution of the story could also be seen more metaphorically than as a literal way to say America is always sacrificing individuals and/or certain demographics for the sake of profit, but as the movie pretty much admits it seems it's meant to be that of a literal analysis. As much as "Sorry to Bother You" is about some heavy-handed topics and touts a plethora of big ideas it is also a movie that doesn't hit its audience over the head with just how important these issues are and how serious the audience should take them. Rather, "Sorry to Bother You" is as if a Paul Thomas Anderson film were flushed through a Spike Lee filter and then stitched together by someone like Charlie Kaufman which is to not only say that it's bonkers, but that it is a lot of fun and relentlessly engaging and-maybe most importantly-consistently funny. Lakeith Stanfield is fantastic as our protagonist Cassius Green (cash is green?) as he grounds this aforementioned surreal reality he exists within in a way that allows we as audience members to have something to grasp onto as we're taken through this unpredictable bit of statement entertainment. Tessa Thompson is electric as Cassius' fiancï¿ 1/2 (C)e Detroit (her father wanted her to have a real American name) who gets her own storyline that mimics Cassius' in a way that doesn't completely alleviate her from her criticisms she tosses at Cassius as he moves up in the telemarketing realm. There is a contradiction of sorts to what Detroit preaches and what she wants to become and Thompson has to allow Detroit to skirt this line without allowing the character to become ironic and therefore someone to be laughed at. Terry Crews and Omari Hardwick are both strong in smaller, supporting roles and Hardwick is especially good at pulling off his natural swagger while still matching his body language with that of Patton Oswalt's dubbing for his character; or at least he does so in a more natural fashion than Stanfield is able to connect with David Cross' as Cassius is very much still himself for much of the movie without giving into the facade of his "white voice" whereas Hardwick's Mr. ________ has been fully enveloped. Steven Yeun is the face of this activism subplot and while his casting makes sense his character's arc as far as how he becomes entangled in Cassius' personal life feels unnecessary and a little tacked on whereas Cassius' friendship with Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) provides some of the best comedic moments in the film. Be warned, Fowler oozes a presence that will make him a huge comedy star one of these days. Danny Glover, Michael X. Sommers, and Kate Berlant also each show up and leave indelible impressions, but all are in an effort to help "Sorry to Bother You" leave the biggest impression possible. It does. There is no question this movie will leave you wanting to discuss it at length, but it also doesn't ever feel focused enough or at least not precise enough to deliver fully the impact it intends to through its methods of deranged diversions. The movie lives to upend your expectation in any way it can while delivering a comedy-coated homily on expectation versus reality and how if we alter one the other will inevitably follow. "Sorry to Bother You" addresses plenty of topics that don't get their day often enough, but it also attempts to say so much that it might ultimately be too much. Needless to say, whatever Mr. Riley decides to do next I will be there for it.
    Philip P Super Reviewer

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