Akeelah and the T-R-I-T-E, trite.
This movie could not have been more cliche. Here is a girl, Akeelah, who happens to be smart in a city school in south California. It is not "cool" for her to be smart. She decides not to do the spelling bee because she does not want to be made fun of. So, the principal, Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, catches her skipping class and makes a deal with her to not be in trouble if she participates in the school bee.
Well, to make a short story shorter, she wins the school bee. Lawrence Fisburne plays a washed up UCLA professor that was once a competitor in the bee. He becomes her trainer. I did not know that they needed training. I did learn interesting strategies if I ever decide to compete spelling bees, professionally. Her mom is a single mom, Akeelah's father was shot and killed before the start of the movie, but apparently, he loved words. Her mother does not approve of the bee because, well, I don't really know. She compares being out late studying words to her older son out late with the local gangster.
Well, Akeelah goes on to finish third in the region behind her new found Spanish friend Javier and the Asian spelling guru Dillon. He has finished second 2 years in a row and this is his year, according to his overbearing father.
So, they go to the National Spelling Bee where she ends up in the final 2 against, you guessed it Dillon. I don't want to give the ending away, but, her whole community is behind the little poor girl from the ghetto, and not the idea that its not cool to be smart. Yay! When finished with this movie, I wanted to watch something violent, with explosions and gunfights, and I was mentally drained from all the big words.
Was it worth the $5 rent?
Verdict: Not really. I say cable is the best bet for this one. If I want an inspirational movie, I watch Rocky. If I want an underdog movie, I watch Dodgeball.