Eppler: "Sorry to Bother You" a burst of bizarre offbeat origina

Eppler: "Sorry to Bother You" a burst of bizarre offbeat originality

"Sorry to Bother You" is one of the wildest movies you're likely to see this year - a bizarre blast of offbeat originality that comes out of nowhere. It's the first movie by writer and director Boots Riley, an underground rapper and longtime political activist who describes his movie this way: an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction inspired by the world of telemarketing. That just scratches the surface of what Riley is doing here.

The story focuses on Cassius, played by Lakieth Stanfield, who is fantastic in the FX series "Atlanta." He's a guy just barely getting by. When he gets a job at a telemarketing company, he gets some advice on sales by a veteran caller, Danny Glover: use a "white voice" to make more money. Cassius' so-called white voice is hilariously dubbed by comedian David Cross, whose voice sounds like it's wearing Dockers with socks and sandals.

A black man using white cultural appropriation to climb the corporate ladder would be a good enough idea on its own for a movie, but it's only the beginning of Riley's satirical targets including race, class, labor rights, media and the nature of capitalism. That's a lot for one movie to handle - really too much in a way that becomes unwieldy. But Riley's creativity and ambition are pretty amazing to watch as he gradually turns up the absurdity amp to 11. It's honestly kind of amazing this thing exists and got a wide release. 

Think of "Sorry to Bother You" as a companion piece to Mike Judge's "Office Space," only far more aggressive in its workplace satire. Don't let anyone tell you too much about this movie - you probably wouldn't believe them, anyway. 

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * * 

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful  - The worst, an insult to movies

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