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Directed by Bill Duke

Opens February 22

This wackily uneven drama from director Bill Duke opens with Atlanta photographer and housewife Valerie Maas (Aunjanue Ellis) sitting in a police interrogation room trying to explain to a doubting detective (Lou Gossett Jr.) why she's not guilty of murder. Flashbacks reveal that Valerie and her husband Dutch (Razaaq Adoti) have become entangled in the sordid lives of Dutch's new boss (Roger Guenveur Smith) and a creepy rap star (the actor known as "Leon") who has set his sights on Valerie. These folks are knee-deep in sin, the nitty-gritty details of which it wouldn't be fair to reveal. This is a weirdly schizophrenic movie, one that's light on the murder mystery and heavy on the sermonizing, particularly when Valerie's church-basement women's group—which seems to meet hourly—starts wailing about the devilish temptations luring African-American men from God and family. Duke appears to be aiming for a Tyler Perry–style mix of the taboo and the saintly, but his touch is leaden.

 
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