In this image released by Roadside Attractions, Tyler James Williams appears in a scene from "Dear White People." (AP Photo/Roadside Attractions, Ashley Nguyen)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cheeky provocation wrapped in a zingy punchline, Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” recalls other memorably promising debuts — by filmmakers named Spike, for instance, whether Lee or Jonze. An ambitious satire that questions just how “post-racial” America has become, the film is never at a loss for words, but sometimes confuses galvanizing rhetoric for legitimate deliberation.

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