top of page
  • Writer's picturePopEntertainment

Sorry to Bother You (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Sorry to Bother You


Starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, Michael X. Sommers, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, Forest Whitaker, Shelley Mitchell, Lyrics Born, W. Kamau Bell and the voices of David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Rosario Dawson and Lily James.

Screenplay by Boots Riley.

Directed by Boots Riley.

Distributed by Annapurna Pictures. 105 minutes. Rated R.

The trailer for Sorry to Bother You is super slick and humorous. I thought I was walking into this generation’s Wayans Brothers flick and was prepared to laugh until I cried.

The film did not disappoint in its creativity and details, but this was not like any movie that I’ve seen before and certainly, wasn’t the comedy that I was expecting. I can’t really tell you that I got everything about it. I feel like this is a movie that you need to watch and then talk through.

This is me, whining about seeing a movie before my friends and family, because I really feel like I need to process it more. I didn’t feel like this after Birdman, though it feels similarly artistic and surreal. But Birdman also didn’t feel as socially relevant to me.

Sorry to Bother You tells the story of Cassius “Cash” Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield), a man troubled by his future and how to make his mark on the world. He dreams of success, while living in his uncle’s garage and driving his uncle’s beat up junker car. His girlfriend, Detroit (played by Tessa Thompson), lives in the moment and loves Cash in spite of his lack of success.

In this dystopian Oakland, Cash gets a job as a telemarketer, working for commission only (an important plot point that leads to a telemarketer revolution of sorts as they fight for humane working conditions and a fair wage). Cash dreams of becoming a successful Power Caller with entrée to the coveted gold elevator and a success that he wants more than anything.

Sorry to Bother You is all about its details. Detroit’s artistic optimism. Her parents wish to give her an “American” name. Her self-abusive performance art. Her homemade statement earrings.

Cassius’ beginning realization that his accusations of her sucking up to her rich, white, buyers is no different than his work, which leads him to the power-caller realm. A blow to Cash’s head with a coke can sets off a media pop-culture frenzy that shows up throughout the film and lends itself to the Halloween costume of the year.

Danny Glover is the sage coworker who introduces Cash to his inner “white voice” that sets him on the prestigious power caller path. Armie Hammer takes on a role that is so morally deplorable that I will need to re-watch Call Me by Your Name to like him again.

There was a lot of laughter in the audience throughout and applause at the end. However, I walked out at the end with a perspective and an understanding that I was not going to get it all. That I was going to laugh at what I understood to be funny, and cringe at some of the uncomfortable moments that I recognized were so socially relevant.

Sorry to Bother You is going to be a movie that makes people talk. I can’t wait to talk about it more as people see it once it is more widely released.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2018 All rights reserved. Posted: July 13, 2018.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page