Remember when it was really edgy and cool to endlessly quote Mike Judge’s Idiocracy? It’s okay if you don’t. The point is, we have been way overdue for a new, dystopian dark comedy for this new, accelerated, worst-case scenario we’re already living in (Idiocracy, after all, came out twelve years ago, which in media time may as well be thirty years). Sorry to Bother You, a pointed and hilarious take on black masculinity’s relationship to capitalism set against a backdrop brimming with beloved Bay Area vibes, just might prove — and we mean this in the best way possible — to be that movie.
Written and directed by rap legend Boots Riley and starring Get Out and Selma alum Lakeith Stanfield (along with Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Armie Hammer, and many, many more), Sorry to Bother You unfolds like a reverse Bulworth — a 1998 movie mostly remembered for its song, “Ghetto Superstar” by Pras featuring Mya and ODB (pro tip: Don’t try to sing karaoke if you only know the chorus) — by way of Charlie Kaufman, set in a vaguely futuristic Oakland. Cassius, or “Cash”, lives in a garage with a faulty “front” door, hangs out with his bomb sign-spinner girlfriend Tessa Thompson, also from Selma, and makes his way in a multi-colored “hoopty” through the world of telemarketing with little to no success… until Danny Glover gives him a secret weapon that turns his life around: to use his “White Voice” on sales calls. He also at some point starts rocking a giant bloody head bandage after getting beaned by an errant can of soda during what looks like a confrontation with riot cops — a nod to Kendall Jenner’s now-infamous Pepsi spot, perhaps?
Back to the White Voice, which for the record is a stroke of genius, as well as a delightful thumb in the eye of respectability politics. It took us a minute to ID, but that’s definitely David Cross coming out of Lakeith Stanfield’s mouth. Apparently, Steve Buscemi and Patton Oswalt (both extremely white guys, as it happens) also provide White Voices for other characters. Now that’s what we call flipping the script! Sorry to Bother You will be in theaters beginning July 6, and we can’t wait to see more (and find out who’s on the soundtrack).