Donovan Dorrance’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hah. Wow. No, I definitely didn’t expect THAT. But I think I was expecting a bit more of something....
Boots Riley is naturally hilarious. Been listening to The Coup since my sister introduced me as a kid so I was familiar with how absurdist he can be. This was next level and I think it’s a small miracle this was greenlit (greenlighted?) for a wide release. Usually the weird films that get released are without a doubt weird but very honed and focused on their weirdness, or serious. This was bonkers and not at all focused. Boots would come up with a great idea and explore it for 2 seconds before abandoning it completely. This was at times hilarious but sometimes just felt like whiplash and a bit unsatisfying because I wanted things to play out - like Cassius’s girlfriend’s affair which just sorta... trickles away. As well as a number of absurdist moments that I wanted to see more of because they were genius. But alas... I guess this was intentional. He had a lot of ideas and maybe wanted to cram them in and not bore audiences with a repeated gag when there were so many more. But I just wanted more focus throughout while still maintaining its whimsy. I guess I think it would’ve been a lot funnier if it were more focused. The whole thing was interesting- I was never bored. But I was underwhelmed, despite all the creativity happening on screen.
I’m bumming myself out writing this because I was so ready to love it! And there is a lot of greatness here. But eh... can’t help how I feel.
That said, the symbolism and cultural/political/economical relevance was on point and illuminating.