The ‘Sorry to Bother You’ Trailer Pushes Boundaries to The Limit

Be prepared for some delightfully outrageous antics and biting commentary.
Sorry To Bother You
By  · Published on March 12th, 2018

Be prepared for some delightfully outrageous antics and biting commentary.

The first trailer for Sorry to Bother You just dropped and basically confirms why this film was immediately lapped up by Annapurna Pictures at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The cast — Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok), and Steven Yeun (Okja) — initially piqued our interest. But this trailer assures us that activist-musician Boots Riley‘s directorial debut is a fearlessly ambitious romp that only keeps unfolding. Watch it below.

In the words of Riley himself, Sorry to Bother You is a culmination of “Whatever feels fun,” which the trailer certainly showcases. The film tells the story of Cassius “Cash” Green (Stanfield), a man who gets into telemarketing in a desperate bid to earn some money. Little does he know that the secret to getting by in this line of work…is adopting a “white voice.” Not just any white voice but evidently that of David Cross.

Undoubtedly, the contrast of having Cross’s voice come out of Stanfield’s face is both a hysterical plotline and incisive commentary about how people of color have to twist to conform to so-called “acceptable” workplace practices. But we also see how the successes that stem from that one little maneuver change can eat into every aspect of someone’s life; Cassius’s job also alienates him from his girlfriend, Detroit (Thompson), and ultimately lands him potentially making a fishy deal with a menacing, gun-wielding Steve (Hammer).

The Sorry to Bother You trailer comprises some engaging, imaginative filmmaking — Cassius falling into the living room of a telemarketing client, for example — as well as the typical scenes you’d find in any workplace comedy. But there’s definitely something else bubbling beneath the surface. There is only a glimpse of certain disruptions (protests) that would presumably play a part in setting Cassius back on a better moral path after literally selling his soul. We are deliberately left out of the loop after he is promoted to a “power caller.” What exactly does that mean and what kinds of clients will he serve?

Considering the exclusivity surrounding Cassius’s new role and the trailer already taking many liberties with just how exaggerated the film could ultimately be, it’s hard to really predict what something truly morally bankrupt will look like. But Hammer’s character certainly symbolizes a facet of that; dangerous excess. Speaking to IndieWire, he breaks down the kind of mindset a character like that has to adopt in order to exude his level of confidence and moral flexibilities:

“It’s a guy who doesn’t consider himself a fanciful, crazy character. He is 100% enmeshed in his own reality and believes that what he’s doing is totally logical. And so the more illogical and crazy it is, the bigger a challenge it is to take on that role and be like, ‘No, this guy makes a lot of sense.’”

“Cash, you are awesome,” is thus on-the-nose enough to end the trailer on and still speak to the two minutes of footage we’ve been treated to earlier. Being ensnared by money and the quest for a “better” life is not a new film trope by any means. However, Riley’s promising script and ambitious directing is simultaneously uplifted by such a talented and engaging cast and is certain to liven up the typical workplace comedy even more.

Sorry to Bother You will be out in theaters on July 6th.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)