No offense to anyone in the seedy profession of telemarketing, but there is no secret here that they are among the most despised individuals. Racking up one’s phone with senseless calls about imaginary car warranties, special opportunities, and exclusive offers, telemarketers are the scourge of any cell phone owner. Death of a Telemarketer posits that one of these aggressive faux-salesman has gone too far. Known for his “hall of fame performance” as the top dog at his operation, Kasey (Lamorne Morris) will step on whoever it takes in order to drive up his impressive sales. But what happens when the unsuspecting caller decides to seek out revenge? This dark comedy is equal parts silly and relatable, skirting along on the originality of its premise, as well as a charming turn from Lamorne Morris.
Kasey is a selfish social-climber whose shady tactics (including disguising his voice as Rick James) earn him recognition from corporate. He is so successful that the company adopts his approach, dubbing it “the Kasey method.” This method, however, actually makes it harder for Kasey to keep up with the others once they too decide to follow it. There is a contest in which the winner gets the largest commission to date and the “throne chair,” but Kasey finds it more difficult to stay ahead than he expected. He needs to win the contest money to help pay back a debt, so only one solution seems to be come to mind: sneak into the office after hours, and start preying upon people on the elusive ‘do not call’ list. Asa (Jackie Earle Haley) is not so thrilled to receive a ring, especially when said caller poses as a deceased friend.
Along the way, Haley Joel Osment arrives on the scene as Jim, a literal caricature of a mechanic. Lamorne and Jackie are excellent scene partners. I would seriously not be surprised if this was a covid-shot production, as the small-scale and limited cast of characters is a recipe for box office success for the right film. A level of intimacy is provided. Kasey needs to apologize “on behalf of all telemarketers,” which is a good gesture though obviously flawed. With a one hour timeline to apologize to all those people on the ‘do not call’ list, Kasey’s head spins. Can one last chance at redemption be a reality for Kasey?
For the most part, Death of a Telemarketer is a throwaway comedy with a couple solid laughs, and a decent cast to fill in the roster. The only true laughs come in the form of Lamorne and his splendid line delivery, whilst some of the later moments sag slightly in their execution. Still, I am not upset about devoting my time to this quirky little indie. For fans of Morris or Earle-Haley, this could very well be the gold mine of treasure you have been seeking your entire life. “This is your last warning! You’re a dead man!”
Death of a Telemarketer calls with the chance of a lifetime when it debuts in theaters and VOD on Friday, December 3rd.