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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Petey is rude and crude, drinks and smokes to excess, and repeatedly resists authority (even claiming to have stolen silverware fro the White House); still, he embodies a moral code, speaking truth to power.
Violence & Scariness
A fight in the office includes punching; report of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination leads to riots in D.C. streets (fires, looting, car explosion).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Vernell repeatedly wears short, cleavage-enhancing outfits (she calls it "Foxy-ed up," as in the movie character Foxy Brown); she visits Petey in prison in the "booty line," removes her bra from beneath her shirt and hands it to Dewey in public, and engages in deep kissing in public places. Sexual language includes repeated uses of "d--k," "pimp," and other phrases ("What you got in your boxers?"). A naked man appears on the prison rooftop (not explicit, but plain enough). Vernell catches Petey having sex with another woman (naked buttocks visible) and gets very upset, revealing a sexual liaison with Petey's coworker (it takes place off-screen, but she flaunts it).
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Frequent and varied language, including "f--k" (at least 35 times, sometimes with "mother-"), "damn," "s--t" (25+), "ass," "b--ch," "hell," "p--sy," as well as repeated uses of the n-word (at least 25 times) and a string of anti-white slang ("honky," "ofay," "peckerwood," "cracker").
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Products & Purchases
References to and images of popular figures of the day, including Foxy Brown, Berry Gordy, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, Bette Midler, Johnny Carson, "Mr. Tibbs" (from In the Heat of the Night), etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent cigarette smoking and drinking (in bar scenes and elsewhere); Petey appears staggering drunk at a concert he's meant to emcee (he vomits) and is also drunk for his appearance on The Tonight Show; allusions to drug abuse; Petey looks ill at the end, coughing harshly (apparently the result of his many years abusing drugs, liquor, and cigarettes).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this biopic about controversial '60s radio host Petey Greene isn't for kids. Though Greene is often very funny, the film focuses on the sources of his comedy: his anger at oppressive systems of class and racism. Expect lots of sexual references and sexy outfits (a couple of scenes, while not explicit, also show some lively writhing). A fight (punching and falling) between rivals ends when Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination is announced; a brief sequence following shows street rioting (looting, flames, explosion). Language is super spicy and includes lots of uses of both "f--k" and the "N" word (spoken by African-American characters). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Kasi Lemmons's smart, enthralling TALK TO ME shows that Greene was at once inspired and troubled, ambitious and self-destructive. Greene makes his difficult decision in a what is a fittingly complicated scene that showcases both Greene's and Cheadle's brilliance.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate