I wanted to see Boots Riley‘s Sorry To Bother You (Annapurna, 7.6) at last January’s Sundance Film Festival because of Lakeith Stanfield, but then I began to think that a director whose first name was “Boots” might be more into diversion and razmatazz and shuffling the deck than dealing straight cards.

But The Guardian‘s Jordan Hoffman saw Sorry and said it “shows a great deal of spirit and promise” and that “it may even become a cult classic.” Those are critical code terms for “doesn’t quite do it or get there but maybe next time.”

On the other hand a 70% Metacritic score means you’ve gotten…well, a few things right.

Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn said it’s “loaded with capricious details that shimmer with the exuberance of inspired social commentary at hyperspeed”….huh? Variety‘s Peter Debruge complained that “the more ridiculous Riley’s gonzo social critique gets, the more boring it becomes, to the point that its out-of-control second half starts to feel like some kind of bad trip.” Financial Times critic Damon Wise said “it has its moments…but Riley’s vision needs a little more refining.”