`Akeelah' embraces feel-good message

Review B+

April 28, 2006|By CHRIS KALTENBACH | CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Akeelah and the Bee follows a formula, one of the oldest in all of fiction: an underdog, struggling against the odds, seeks fame, fortune and - most importantly - self-respect. Sure, we've seen it all before, but what makes this one of the most winning movies of 2006 is its abundance of great intentions, its firm belief in the world's basic goodness and its effervescent lead performance from 12-year-old Keke Palmer.

The actress, previously seen in a handful of television roles and for a few moments in Barbershop 2: Back In Business, plays Akeelah Anderson, a young girl living in a tough L.A. neighborhood who has a talent rarely celebrated in mainstream American films. She's smart.

Akeelah and the Bee (Lionsgate Films) Starring Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett. Directed by Doug Atchison. Rated PG. Time 112 minutes.

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