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In Talk to Me, a fast-talking, foul-mouthed black ex-convict puts on his best red-velvet suit and struts into the offices of WOL-AM, a D.C. radio station, in the 1960s. He’s making noise in the reception area as he tries to claim a DJ job he thinks was promised to him—he met the station’s new programmer while in jail—when the white manager steps in and says something that temporarily shuts him up: “What in the blue blazes is going on out here?” The programmer is Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and he’s infuriated by the commotion being caused by Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Jr. (Don Cheadle). Hughes doesn’t want anything to do with the felon; then again, the Chocolate City station is being managed by a guy who says “blue blazes,” and the low ratings reflect that. So he hires him. Kasi Lemmons’ entertaining biopic (written by Michael Genet, redeeming himself for writing the execrable She Hate Me, and Rick Famuyiwa) covers Greene’s career from prison DJ in the ’60s to a shock-jockish radio and TV personality so popular in Washington that his funeral in 1984 attracted 8,000 mourners. Greene became famous for his tell-it-like-it-is knack for connecting with listeners, most often with social commentary disguised as humor. (Here he cheerfully refers to an unnamed guest as “a pimp that I wouldn’t trust to wash my car, but y’all done elected him a city official.”) Though the story, which also tells of the growing business relationship and friendship of Hughes and Greene, is interesting—at least until its sugary, somewhat unfocused end—it’s Hotel Rwanda’s Cheadle who steals the movie as the streetwise host. Cheadle deepens his voice, rocks the outfits, and proves to be deft at broad comedy despite his tendency toward serious, art-house-friendly roles; he’s as believable tossing off words like “irregardless” as he is providing verbal balm after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. It doesn’t matter if you’re not familiar with the real Greene—you sense that playing the Emmy-winner is likely to get Cheadle some accolades of his own.