Bug-eyed middle managers out to smash unionizing efforts. Dastardly corporate bigwigs with wildly evil efficiency plans. Cluelessly racist white people and casually brutal cops. Sorry To Bother You, a new film from screenwriter/activist/rapper Boots Riley, is packed with stock villains of leftist lore.
But don't let that keep you away from this dark comedy. Sorry To Bother You never sacrifices story or laughs for sanctimony and never relies on easy, binary interpretations of culpability as we watch rising telemarketing star Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) and his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) navigate ambition, stagnation, prejudice, pride, and a lack of opportunities in an only slightly fictionalized Oakland, California.
Well-deployed absurdism, perfect supporting performances from the likes of Danny Glover and Armie Hammer, and stylish cinematography all help make Riley's directorial debut that rare comedy with the right mix of message, gloss, humor, and perverse hope.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Sorry To Bother You".