Talk to Me

Don Cheadle stars as Ralph “Petey” Greene, who followed a prison term for armed robbery in the early 60s with a long career as a media personality and social activist in the D.C. area. After playing such upright guys in Hotel Rwanda and Reign Over Me, Cheadle must have reached naturally for the part of the raunchy, rebellious Greene, but he would have been better cast and in fact had the better role as Dewey Hughes, the AM radio programmer who gave Greene his first shot (well played instead by Chiwetel Ejiofor). The early scenes of Greene misbehaving on the air are pretty funny, thanks mainly to Martin Sheen as the apoplectic station manager. But I was bummed out by the movie's trite VH1 cartoon of the black power era—especially coming from Kasi Lemmons, who made her directing debut with the hauntingly ambiguous Eve's Bayou. R, 118 min.

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