[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Sorry to Bother You

A funny movie about science fiction and telemarketers

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

December 30, 2018 – I watched a number of critically-acclaimed movies recently, and this one was the most enjoyable one to watch. It is not only the funniest movie I have seen this year, it is the most original one, too, with a story like none other.

Cassius “Cash” Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield of “Get Out”) is looking for a job and is way behind on his rent. He drives a junker of a car (wait until you see the hilarious “wiper duty” bit) but he has a wonderful girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson of “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Creed II”) who loves him despite his poverty.

He applies for a job at the telemarketing firm RegalView and profusely lies on his job application. His employer knows he is lying but doesn't care. After pointing out the lies, he tlls Cash all he needs to know is how to read. Read the script and stick to the script, he is told. He works on a commission. He has little success in selling until he follows the advice of an older fellow worker, Langston (Danny Glover) and starts using a “white voice” instead of his usual “black voice.” Using the white voice, he immediately becomes the most successful salesman on the floor.

One of the movie's many in-jokes happens when Cash's black friends all freak out when he uses his white voice. One says, that he “sounds overdubbed.” The joke is that he actually is being overdubbed on the white voice lines by actor David Cross. The white voice jokes abound in the movie as Cash and other black actors have overdubbed voices at times.

While Detroit, Langston and other friends from work go on strike for more pay, Cash takes a job way upstairs as a power caller for the evil WorryFree company that practices something like slave labor. Cash and Detroit move apart because Cash has sold out and Detroit is a member of the “Left Eye” protesters opposed to the company Cash works for, WorryFree. She is attracted to a striking telemarketer, Squeeze (Steven Yuen of “Okja”).

Cash, using the power of his white voice, quickly becomes a telemarketing star at WorryFree, but he becomes increasingly concerned about the morality of the company he works for. He is invited to a party by the owner of the company, Steve Lift (played by Armie Hammer of “Call Me by Your Name”) where he is offered a mind-blowing deal.

Here is where the surreal science fiction aspect of the movie begins. I won't get into this part of the plot, partly because I don't want to spoil it for you, and partly because it is something that doesn't readily translate into print. It is just way, way out there.

Suffice it to say that Cash is so shocked at what he learns about Steve Lift and WorryFree that he joins the ranks of the strikers and Left Eye. Things get even weirder at the end. This is a highly original movie that is very funny, but there is also some serious social commentary in it. The acting is effective and the story moves right along. Director and writer Boots Riley has produced a wonderful screenplay and an extremely impressive debut film. This film rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2018 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]