Reviews

Sorry to Bother You (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2018.

Categorization

SF dramedy.

Subject

White-voice telemarketing and “worry-free” slavery.

Commentary

Do the Right Thing (1989) meets Office Space (1999) meets Mood Indigo (2013), with a traditional pro-union leftist political bent, meme-cultural alienation and horses.

The racial politics find an excellent tone but don’t get all the details right. The WorryFree corporation is a parody of WeWork, which means that the bit-part Japanese character “Son” corresponds to Korean-Japanese billionaire Son Masayoshi who funded WeWork through SoftBank. Son’s name is not, or not primarily, a flub of the honorific san; instead, it’s overly specific. In this mapping, WorryFree CEO Steve Lift corresponds to contemporary WeWork CEO Adam Neumann who trademarked the word “we” and sold it to his own corporation for $5.9M. Although Neumann is a terrible person, it’s not a great mapping. The motif of slavery has more to do with African-American heritage and general economic inequality than it does with WeWork. The film doesn’t capture what made WeWork a sign of the times or why the real corporation’s stock crashed in 2019, costing Son several billion dollars.

fiction moving picture