Straight talk

Straight talk DEFAULT

Straight Talk

1992 film by Barnet Kellman

For the song, see Straight Talk (Yoko Ono song). For the mobile phone brand, see TracFone Wireless.

Straight Talk is a 1992 American romantic comedy film directed by Barnet Kellman and starring Dolly Parton and James Woods.


Shirlee Kenyon is a dance instructor living in Arkansas. Fired for giving advice to her clients rather than teaching them dance, she attempts to convince her common-law husband (Michael Madsen) to move to Chicago with her. After he declines and belittles her, she decides to move there without him.

Once she arrives, she stands on a bridge enjoying the view of the city when she accidentally drops a twenty dollar bill. As she climbs over the rail to retrieve the money, Jack (James Woods), an investigative journalist, sees her from his office window and assumes she is trying to commit suicide. He runs out to rescue her, but as he attempts to grab and "save" her, Shirlee almost falls into the river and loses the 20 she had been trying to recover. Afterwards, she tells him about the 20. Jack tries to give her money, saying she must need it more than him if she is willing to risk her life to retrieve it. She refuses and they part.

Shirlee stops into a cafe for breakfast, and chats with another customer, Janice (Teri Hatcher), annoyed at having been stood up by her boyfriend the previous evening. Shirlee tells her he is taking her for granted, and advises her to end the relationship, only to realize that Janice's boyfriend is, in fact, Jack. When he shows up, Janice breaks it off. He thanks Shirlee for "wrecking his entire day", as he leaves.

After several job interviews, a manager at a local radio station (Paula Newsome) hires her as a switchboard operator, despite her lack of experience. On her first day, she inadvertently walks into a studio, and is mistaken for the station's new call in therapist. She is put on the air, and begins hesitantly talking with the show's callers. Upon completion of the show, the program director arrives, and fires Shirlee, along with the producer and engineer, who had put her on the air.

However, Shirlee's radio segment becomes in high demand with their audience, prompting the radio station boss, Mr. Perlman, to make Shirlee the new radio personality. Alan finds Shirlee and convinces her to do the show, offering an $800 per week contract. Shirlee accepts the position, but there is one condition: she must pretend to be a real clinical doctor.

She reluctantly accepts and becomes a popular radio figure as "Doctor Shirlee." Jack suspects something when he realizes the woman who was ready to risk her life for twenty dollars is a 'doctor'. Although his editor disagrees, Jack pursues the story. He begins to date Shirlee, initially in an attempt to get closer to uncover her story, but he soon falls for her. Her boyfriend from Arkansas arrives in Chicago to try to get her back, though his attempts fall short, and Shirlee and Jack make love.

As Jack has true feelings for her, he refuses to publish the story, resigning. However, Shirlee receives another visit from her ex, who tells her he remembered having previously met Jack in Arkansas, and that he was asking a number of questions about her. Shirlee realizes Jack is a reporter, and his interest may be purely to uncover her story. Storming off, she refuses to take his calls.

As Shirlee's popularity increases, a mishap involving some of her previous advice to a caller eventually causes her to confess the truth to everyone on air that she is not a real doctor, and she then leaves the show. Her listeners call in, wanting her back, regardless of her credentials. Someone calls in, suggesting everyone listening to honk their horns at midnight if they want Shirlee back. Jack tracks Shirlee down on the same bridge where they had first met and convinces her to take him back.

When she hears the horns, Jack tells her that they are for her. She eventually goes back to the radio show, but insists that she just wants to be called "Shirlee."



The vast majority of the film was shot in historic downtown Lemont, Illinois. The "Flank Center" building was used to house the dance sequence scenes in the beginning of the film. Both Dolly Parton and James Woods ate at local establishments during filming off times.

Most filming occurred in the early hours of the morning with the usage of high intensity floodlights to depict daytime. This was done to reduce interference with the general public who crowded the streets throughout the weeks of filming. The bar in the raining scene, Tom's Place, and the Barber Shop are still open with some small movie memorabilia.


Parton composed ten original songs for the film soundtrack, including a re recording of her 1976 "Light of a Clear Blue Morning".


The film received mixed reviews, with much of the praise going to Parton and Woods's performances, while at the same time criticizing the story itself.[1][2]

Box office[edit]

Straight Talk opened at the American box office at No. 4, grossing $4,575,746.[3] The movie spent four weeks in the box office charts and grossed $21,202,099.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom on June 12, 1992, and opened at No. 1.[5]

Home media[edit]

The film was released to VHS and laserdisc shortly after its theatrical release by Hollywood Pictures Home Video. A DVD release came from Hollywood Pictures Home Video in 2003. In 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the home video rights to the film, along with many others from Hollywood and Touchstone Pictures and released the film on DVD and Blu ray. Mill Creek's DVD of the film is available by itself, as part of a double-feature set with Big Business, and a triple feature set with Big Business and V.I. Warshawski.


External links[edit]


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*At 2G speeds, the functionality of some data applications, such as streaming audio or video may be affected. Please refer to the latest Terms and Conditions of service.

"Up to half the cost" is based on a comparison of the monthly cost of the $45 Straight Talk Unlimited Plan and the monthly cost of comparable no-contract, single line plans with unlimited talk, text and data on the top two carriers. Excludes taxes, fees, autopay discounts and limited time pricing. Source: Competitor websites November 2019.

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�To get 4G LTE speed, you must have a 4G LTE capable device and 4G LTE SIM. Actual availability, coverage and speed may vary. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

Reward Points can only be applied towards an eligible Straight Talk plan when you accumulate the total amount of points needed. Reward Points have no cash value and cannot be transferred to another customer. Additional terms and conditions apply.

�The $10 Global Calling Card must be combined with another Straight Talk Service Plan. International long distance service is available to select destinations only, which are subject to change at any time. Calls must originate from the US, or Puerto Rico. No international roaming allowed. Only for personal use. Calls are billed in one-minute increments. Airtime minutes will be deducted plus the cost of the International call. Rates are subject to change without prior notice. Card benefit expires 180 days after last use or 30 days after your service is suspended, whichever occurs first. Available online only.

**Each account is allowed to dial up to 15 unique international telephone numbers during a 30-day plan cycle, which resets each time a new plan is redeemed. Unlimited international calls are available to landline and mobile numbers in select destinations only, which are subject to change at any time. Calls must originate from the US or Puerto Rico. No international roaming allowed. Other terms and conditions apply. For personal use only. Please refer to the latest Terms and Conditions of Service at

Straight Talk� is a registered trademark of TracFone Wireless, Inc. 2019 TracFone Wireless, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks, service marks, and trade names referenced in this site are the property of their respective owners.


Many of money expert Clark Howard’s fans have turned to TracFone-owned Straight Talk for cheap cell phone service. Should you make the switch?

Straight Talk partners with the Big 4 networks, lets you bring your own phone and is available at Walmart.

Straight Talk Review: Everything You Need to Know 

I wanted to know how Straight Talk compares to its prepaid competitors, so I signed up for a 30-day plan to review call and text performance, data speeds, customer service and more.

Overall, there were more pros than cons, but Straight Talk probably isn’t for everyone. Read on to learn why.

Table of Contents: 

Plans and Pricing

Straight Talk has a handful of monthly plans available at Walmart and on Unlimited and fixed data plans are available, so there is something for everyone.

When I purchased the $45 plan, it included 10GB of high-speed data. Now, it’s 25GB for the same price.

That’s a good value compared to the $35/month plan, which only includes 5GB of high-speed data before you’re slowed to 2G speeds for the rest of your billing cycle.

Unlimited data plans do exist, including a $55/month plan that now includes 10GB of mobile hotspot data.

In addition to its monthly plans, Straight Talk offers 3-month, 6-month and 12-month data plans at a discounted rate. There are also slightly lower prices for plans with auto-refill.

Network Partners 

Straight Talk is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which is a cell phone provider that doesn’t have its own towers but partners with one or more networks to provide coverage.

One of Straight Talk’s selling points is that it works on all of the Big 4 networks: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean you’ll get access to all four networks at the same time. You will only get one. The network will be chosen based on your location and device.

Getting Started

Straight Talk is available at more than 3,000 Walmart locations nationwide, but you can also order SIM cards, service plans and phones through

I ended up purchasing a SIM card and 30-day plan from Walmart’s electronics section, but that wasn’t my initial plan.

Ordering Process

At first, I ordered a SIM card from I didn’t read the fine print that said the SIM card would be delivered by FedEx and required a signature.

Typically, prepaid carriers will send SIM cards through the U.S. Postal Service and leave them in your mailbox.

FedEx said they attempted to deliver the SIM card three times, but I never had a note left on my door. Eventually, the package was returned to Straight Talk.

Two weeks after my initial order, I gave up with the website and just drove to Walmart.

Activating Service 

Once I got home from Walmart with the SIM Activation Kit, I opened it up and inserted the AT&T SIM card that worked with my unlocked Moto G6 test phone.

I followed the step-by-step instructions and got a new phone number, but you can also keep your existing one.

After inserting the SIM card into my phone and following the provided setup instructions, I received this message from Straight Talk:

“Your phone or device is in the process of being Activated. Please wait 5 minutes and then test your service. If after 1 hour your service is still not active, please contact us at 1-877-430-2355. If you have a Remote Alert System, contact us at 1-888-251-8165. For Car Connection, contact us at 1-866-812-2776.”

Unfortunately, it ended up taking closer to an hour (not 5 minutes) to get my service up and running.

Phone Options 

To save money, you can keep your current phone (check compatibility) and switch to Straight Talk. That’s what I did for this test. However, the wireless provider also sells iPhones and Androids if you’re ready for an upgrade.

Straight Talk has a wide selection of phones, including a few budget devices that are free with plan purchase.

If you can’t pay the full price of the phone, up to 24-month financing is offered on some devices. However, it may not be 0% financing. For that reason, you may want to shop elsewhere for a phone.

Call and Text Performance

For the 30 days that I tested Straight Talk using an AT&T SIM card, I experienced zero dropped calls and zero missing text messages from my home location in Atlanta, Georgia.

In the past, I’ve had more issues with AT&T MVNOs compared to Verizon MVNOs. Not this time!

When I called my family and friends, I always made sure to ask them to rate the call quality. They said they were able to hear my voice loud and clear.

Wi-Fi Calling is available on select devices, but I was unable to try out this feature.

Data Speeds  

Slow data is a big concern for people who like to stream video and music, surf the web and use social media apps.

Overall, Straight Talk’s data speeds were not impressive. I conducted 10 speed tests using the Speedtest app and the average was less than 10 Mbps.

That’s plenty fast for streaming, but there were times when YouTube videos did buffer a little bit.

From my experience testing low-cost cell phone providers, Verizon MVNOs have had faster data speeds. One of them, Total Wireless, is owned by the same company as Straight Talk.

Customer Service 

I read lots of complaints about Straight Talk’s customer service on the Better Business Bureau’s website, but the agent I spoke to helped me troubleshoot the SIM card delivery issue with FedEx.

In addition to phone and chat support, customers can text 611611 for help with their service.

For example, I texted USAGE to 611611 throughout my 30-day trial of Straight Talk’s service and received a summary of my data usage a few minutes later.

If you text HELP to 611611, you’ll receive a list of the carrier’s top help keywords.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Straight Talk Cell Phone Service

Good deal: $45 for 25GB planSlow data speeds at times
Available nationwide at WalmartPhones with financing can be costly
Free and low-cost phones available for sale

Final Thought 

Straight Talk is a popular prepaid carrier because it’s easy to keep your phone, number and the network that you love.

The pricing isn’t the lowest that you can find, but the $45 for 25GB deal is very similar to what other wireless providers market as “unlimited”— and it doesn’t break the bank.

Many people will be perfectly happy with Straight Talk, but I don’t recommend it if you…

  • Want the fastest data speeds
  • Rely heavily on customer service
  • Require unlimited mobile hotspot

The good news is that Straight Talk isn’t your only option. I had better experiences when I tested Total Wireless and Mint Mobile, two other prepaid cell phone providers with affordable plan options.

Share your Straight Talk review in the comments below and read more in Clark’s cell phone guide!

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Talk straight

Straight Talk Cell Phone Service Review 2021
Straight Talk charges less than the big-name cell phone companies out there, but can you find a plan that will work for you? Find out!

Straight Talk is a no-contract, prepaid cell phone plan and one of the cheapest prepaid carriers out there.

Straight Talk keeps its prices down by using existing cell towers from other companies. While this definitely helps Straight Talk stay more affordable (yay!), it also means you’ll have to do without a few bells and whistles. That means reduced data speeds and no family plan deals.

If you can live without these luxuries, then you can save some money—and find some flexibility too—with Straight Talk.

Straight Talk Wireless plans

Today’s special: prime minutes and fresh texts served with a heaping side of data.

Straight Talk is like an all-you-can-eat buffet: you pay up front, it’s cheap, and there are options for everyone. It may not be the fanciest cuisine around, but it’ll do well in a pinch.

On the kids’ menu, there’s Straight Talk’s unlimited talk and text plan with 3 GB of data. That’s ideal for your teenager who’s on their phone all the time—even when they should be doing their homework.

For the main course, there’s unlimited nationwide text and calling plans. You get a higher data cap, which is great—and a 25 GB tier will work for anyone who isn’t completely glued to their phone. And for those who are, there’s also an unlimited data option.

These plans can be quite appetizing, especially if you compare those low prices to unlimited plans from major carriers, like Verizon and T-Mobile—which, for all their quality, will always be pricier.

Like any good buffet, Straight Talk has a deal for grandma and grandpa, too. The cheapest plan from Straight Talk will give you 1,500 minutes, unlimited texts, and 100 MB of data. Perfect for those who use the internet mainly for email and who aren’t streaming Spotify or Snapchatting.

Straight Talk add-ons and deals

  • Auto-refill savings: You can save $1 on your monthly bill if you sign up for “auto-refill”—basically autopay.
  • Extended plans: If you’ve got a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you can pay up front for discounted three-, six-, or 12-month “extended plans”
  • Family Plans: Straight Talk has no deals—zero, zilch, nada—for adding extra lines. You’ll have to look elsewhere for a family plan.
  • Extra data add-ons: Used up all your high-speed data mid-month, but now you just need to stream the new Kanye album? You can buy 1 GB add-ons for $5.
  • Global calling add on: Got a relative in Guatemala? Or a friend in Malaysia? Add a global calling card onto any plan for $10.

How good is Straight Talk performance?

A service map patched together—like Frankenstein. But in a good way! . . . mostly.

There was a time when “I lost service” was a convenient excuse for missing your boss’s call. These days, that doesn’t cut it.

Most of us expect to have reliable cell service all the time—if not for our bosses, then for ourselves. (Gotta post that killer shot from your sunrise hike or it’s like it didn’t happen!)

Straight Talk’s network uses a patchwork of other companies’ towers (including some with the best coverage), making the service a bit confusing. Your coverage will differ depending on the device you have (CDMA or GSM) and how you set it up with Straight Talk.

Straight talk coverage map

But for most people, coverage won’t be a huge problem, especially if you live in a metropolitan area, since those will be covered by all major networks. But your data speed may be a different story.

Tom’s Guide has measured Straight Talk’s average LTE speed at 31.1 Mbps.1 That makes it slower than all the major leaguers out there, but still ahead of other discount mobile companies like Boost and Cricket.

Straight Talk speed and data details

  • Data speeds: The LTE averages at 31.1 Mbps downloading and 15.6 Mbps uploading.
  • Streaming quality: Straight Talk phones contain “data optimizers” that limit you to 480p resolution. So you can still stream, but the quality won’t be amazing.
  • Mobile hotspots: No luck here. Straight Talk’s acceptable use policy excludes “all hotspot applications”. Denied!

Straight Talk cell phones and devices

New iPhone X 64GB in Space Gray for $699.99, who dis?

Sick of seeing your cute selfies through a cracked screen? Running out of storage on your two-generations-old iPhone? Maybe it’s time for an upgrade.

Straight Talk has all of the newest Apple and Samsung phones, and some budget options from other manufacturers (including a retro flip phone for all you hipsters and old souls). Most phones can be paid for in monthly installments.

Straight Talk customer service

Straight Talk’s customer service is, well, not so straight talkin’.

Expecting a telecommunications company to have fantastic customer service is like expecting a tortoise to set a speed record: it’s just not in their nature. But still, some will always be better than others.

So, how does Straight Talk measure up?

According to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Wireless Customer Care study, which surveyed over 14,000 customers, Straight Talk is among the lowest ranking cell phone companies.2 (*Sad trombone noise*)

The company scored lower than T-Mobile, Verizon, Boost, Cricket and others. But it did beat out other budget operators, like Tracfone. So there’s still some good news there: if you just need the budget service, it might still be worth it.

If you need to try your luck with Straight Talk customer service, you can call 1-877-430-2355.

Recap: is Straight Talk good?

Straight Talk’s spartan cell phone plans keep things simple, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you don’t care about having the fastest speeds or the extra features, it’s a great choice.

However, if you want crystal-clear streaming quality, high-speed hotspots, and perfect nationwide coverage, you might want to look at some more traditional plans.

  • Plans: Stripped-down prepaid plans for everyone, from the phone-addicts to the technology-resistant (you know who you are).
  • Performance: Decent but confusing coverage. But it’s the data throttling and lack of hotspots that you’ll really want to worry about.
  • Customer service: We’ll grade on a curve for this category and give Straight Talk a C+.
  • Overall: It’s a decent prepaid service for people on a budget, but Straight Talk can’t compete with the big hitters when it comes to performance.

Q: Does Straight Talk have overage charges or hidden fees?

Wireless contracts can be like haunted houses: hidden fees waiting around every corner. The advantage with prepaid plans is that you’ll be cut off if you go over your minutes and/or data. No surprise fees, and you can always buy extra is you’d like.

Q: Does Straight Talk charge an activation fee?

Nope! Once you buy a phone (and transfer your contacts, if you want), consider yourself activated.

Q: Should I get a warranty or insurance for my Straight Talk phone?

All new Straight Talk phones are covered by a one-year limited warranty. The company does not offer additional warranties or insurance, though they may be available through third parties.

Q: Does Straight Talk let you bring your own phone?

Yep! Straight Talk is well known for its BYOP policy. You can check your device’s compatibility on Straight Talk’s website.

Q: Can I keep my phone number?

Yes, you can. Just make sure not to cancel your current plan before you activate with Straight Talk or you could lose the number.

Q: What’s Straight Talk’s return policy?

As far as we can tell, Straight Talk doesn’t offer any refunds. So don’t count on one, but it never hurts to ask! And you may be able to exchange one phone for credit towards another phone.

Q: Does Straight Talk have a military or student discount?

Unfortunately, no. But there are plenty of companies out there that do, so if that’s a dealbreaker, you’ve got other options.

Easton Smith
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.
  • Worst customer service is an understatement. The first experience I have getting hung up by the CS while I was still trying to explain the issue. You would deal with people in India that have super heavy thick accent.

  • I recently switched to smart talk from Verizon as the plans are much cheaper. It seemed to work okay, but after about a week I noticed that I could not send or receive picture messages or group texts. I called customer service to try to correct this problem. After about 5 hours on the phone, I can now no longer send or receive any text messages, no do I have access to internet outside of wifi, they are unable to correct any of my problems and are telling me that my sim card is probably bad and I should go and buy a new on. So rather than replacing my sim card and taking some responsibility for the service they are providing, I have to go buy a new sim and be left to my own to activate (smart talk will no longer have any in store representatives to help set up your phone or account or to help fix problems when they happen) and to try to make sure it work. Needless to say, I am going back to Verizon where the service is expensive but at least it works and there are people that are physically there to help you. Would never recommend anyone switch to Smart Talk because if there is an issue you will be on your own completely

  • Straight Talk now offers 10 gigs of tethering with their unlimited data plan.

    Their unlimited is actually unlimited. The disclaimer states they may review your plan when you reach 60 gigs.

    Customer service is ok, typical of all phone companies.

    Coverage is excellent! I’ve had ST for many years and never had issues with coverage.

    I haven’t tried the international calling plan.

    I whole heartedly recommend Straight Talk.

  • Breaking News to StraightTalk, your service is trash and so are your employees.

    I’m not sure who picks the Straight Talk customer service team, but they need fired along with their entire line of staff. NO ONE I’ve ever talked to is comprehendible, it almost cost my girlfriend $60 in the process this time and we accomplished nothing because the lady we talked to wasn’t speaking clearly the entire time, so we just had to assume what she was saying was safe to do, until now that I have to wait for my SIM card to come in and possibly lose business in the process because I have no phone!!! Whoever that was needs to be thankful she didn’t give her name and it was my girlfriend, NOT me on the phone. You’re losing a customer once this service runs out. Thanks for all your bullshit and I hope someone with a temper crosses that woman’s path when they call for help so they can tell her how stupid she sounds when she talks and how she doesn’t need to pick up a phone ever again like I never had the chance to!!!….

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    Designer Turkey’s Finest! l STRAIGHT TALK EP. 58

    Straight Talk My Account

    Manage your Straight Talk Wireless service anywhere, at any time. Download the Straight Talk My Account app today and never worry about how to refill again.

    This app also measures the network quality during calls in your service area based on your location. This allows Straight Talk to continually work towards improving your call reception and network quality.

    Additional Features:
    • Purchase Service Plans
    • Add a Service Plan with a PIN Card
    • View Service End Date
    • Manage your Reserve
    • Enroll in Auto-Refill
    • Use a Widget to track your Data Usage
    • Chat with Customer Support
    • Create an Account and log in
    • Edit your Profile
    • View Transaction history
    • Manage credit cards, Paypal and Venmo
    • Find nearby Retail locations based on your current location or zip code
    • Enroll in Rewards, and get rewarded for every transaction.

    Not a Straight Talk customer?
    Join today! Visit to learn more.


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    Straight Talk Photos

    Movie Info

    Leaving her rural life in Arkansas, Shirlee Kenyon (Dolly Parton) moves to Chicago and seeks employment at a radio station. When a mix-up finds Shirlee sitting in as the host on a show for call-in advice, her common-sense wisdom wins over fans. Soon she's "Doctor Shirlee," an in-demand on-air personality, but, of course, she's lacking in the proper credentials, a fact that journalist Jack Russell (James Woods) already suspects. Will Shirlee be able to keep her new gig if the truth gets out?

    • Rating:


    • Genre:


    • Original Language:


    • Director:

      Barnet Kellman

    • Producer:

      Robert Chartoff, Fred Berner

    • Writer:

      Craig Bolotin, Patricia Resnick

    • Release Date (Theaters):


    • Release Date (Streaming):

    • Box Office (Gross USA):


    • Runtime:

    • Distributor:

      Buena Vista Pictures

    • Sound Mix:

      Dolby, Surround, Stereo

    Cast & Crew


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