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Sorry to Bother You (2018)

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In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed.

Director:

Boots Riley

Writer:

Boots Riley
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Popularity
553 ( 72)

'Sorry to Bother You,' But Let’s Talk About Awful Jobs

Lakeith Stanfield and the Sorry to Bother You crew reveal the highs and lows of following your dreams, the awkwardness of sex scenes, and their most soul-crushing jobs.

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16 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
LaKeith Stanfield ... Cassius Green (as Lakeith Stanfield)
Tessa Thompson ... Detroit
Jermaine Fowler ... Salvador
Omari Hardwick ... Mr. _______
Terry Crews ... Sergio
Kate Berlant Kate Berlant ... Diana DeBauchery
Michael X. Sommers ... Johnny
Danny Glover ... Langston
Steven Yeun ... Squeeze
Armie Hammer ... Steve Lift
Robert Longstreet ... Anderson
David Cross ... Cassius's White Voice (voice)
Patton Oswalt ... Mr. _______'s White Voice (voice)
Lily James ... Detroit's White British Voice (voice)
Forest Whitaker ... First Equisapien / Demarius
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Storyline

In an alternate version of Oakland, Cassius Green gets a telemarketing job and finds the commission paid job a dispiriting struggle as a black man selling to predominately white people over the phone. That changes when a veteran advises him to use his "white voice," and the attitude behind it to make himself more appealing to customers. With a bizarrely high-pitched accent, Cassius becomes a success even as his colleagues form a union to improve their miserable jobs. Regardless, Cassius finds himself promoted a "Power Caller" selling the most morally abhorrent but lucrative products and services as his connection to his girlfriend and colleagues fades away. However, Cassius' conscience arises anew as he finds himself in the midst of his boss' bizarre world of condescending bigoted decadence and his sinister plans to create the perfect subservient work force with Cassius' help. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 July 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sorry to Bother You See more »

Filming Locations:

Oakland, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$727,266, 8 July 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$17,493,096, 1 November 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(January 2019) Finance Director of the Year Awards (FDAwards): New Voice for Film Award to Boots Riley for "Sorry to Bother You". See more »

Quotes

Detroit: Don't listen to what I say. Listen to what I want.
See more »


Soundtracks

Wash Me Up
Written by Boots Riley and Damion Gallegos
Performed by The Coup
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User Reviews

 
The WTF Movie of the Year
18 July 2018 | by Jared_AndrewsSee all my reviews

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.


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