Rated: R Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 13, 2007 Released by: Focus Features
Don Cheadle highlights the turbulent 60's through his jive-talking, candid radio personality "Petey" Greene in Kasi Lemmons's sassy limited biopic Talk To Me.
Lemmons, who made the little-noticed Eve's Bayou, knows how to strike the urban demographic with comedy and drama through this eclectic deejay who just gets out of prison in the late 1960's.
Greene gets his chance through an unlikely meeting with a brittle local urbane radio manager, Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor of Dirty Pretty Things, Children of Men). And, their "Odd Couple" relationship helps propel a movie that may be seen like Good Morning Vietnam with the volatility in Washington D.C. where Petey gets his chance to shine.
Dewey has much reverence for (the now late) Johnny Carson, and Petey will appear on his "Tonight Show". But, being on national TV with a host of that clout isn't really what this "star comedian" has in mind. Before then, there is plenty of pungent wisecracking as D.C. is looked at with vitriol by many around the deft, troublemaker of a deejay.
From its point of reference that frankly understands the unrest there is much that braces, not just from the airwaves, as Lemmons clicks into the aura around a little-known marvel of a black miscreant.
For those who vaguely or never heard of Greene they may see him as someone of the Richard Pryor ilk and Cheadle (the opposite of his laid back family man in Reign Over Me with Adam Sandler) proves to be much more spry and energetic than the film itself. Perhaps, because it loses the compelling storyline to go along the pinball wizardry of Petey.
If Talk To Me, which has some of the production and actorly charisma of Oliver Stone's Talk Radio and P.T. Anderson's adult-industry insider opus Boogie Nights loses steam through heavy melodrama, then see it for the peppy Cheadle. And, his uneasy, but vital work with Ejiofor, who excelled in similar fashion with Denzel Washington in Spike Lee's Inside Man. Also, within a vibrant, colorful soundtrack and hip clothing of the times, Martin Sheen has fun glowering as the radio station head and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) as the flamboyant girlfriend.
|Talk to Me||B||B|