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Buzzing for Attention

Akeelah and the Bee (Lions Gate Films, $28.98)

A movie about a spelling bee champ from the ghetto could easily be way too e-a-r-n-e-s-t. Instead, star Keke Palmer sucks us in with her convincing portrayal of Akeelah Anderson's run from the mean streets of south Los Angeles to the klieg lights of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Akeelah is an irresistible story of an underdog's triumph, with a little help from her friends.

Extras: Fine for fans. The extras offer a look behind the scenes at the making of the movie, with a special focus on Keke Palmer and her close relationship with writer-director Doug Atchison. The idea for the movie came from Atchison's chance 1994 viewing of the real Scripps bee on TV.

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