- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2004

Queer’ overkill?

Those fabulously chic stars of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” are gearing up for nine new episodes starting tonight. But will we remain fascinated by the Fab 5 — Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Felicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez — given all the media attention and the quintet’s new promotional tie-ins?

Bravo kicks off a string of new episodes at 10 tonight with a guest appearance by singer Kylie Minogue. The Aussie songstress just happens to have a song on the Fab 5’s new show soundtrack, “What’s That Sound? Music From ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.’”

The show’s stars also have released a “Queer Eye” companion book, titled “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better.”

Can a tie-in corkscrew, lobster bib and shoehorn be far behind?

Forthcoming episodes will feature a head-banging radio-show host and strip-club DJ who get the “Queer Eye” treatment, as well as a stand-up comic with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Also: In a moment in style history sure to be talked about online for weeks, the show’s stylists will transform Mark, a hirsute fellow who sees nothing wrong with his mullet, mutton chops and handlebar mustache.

Smith returns for ‘Us’

Will Smith got his start on NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” so he knows a little something about the value of sweeps month.

The megastar drops by tonight’s hourlong episode of UPN’s “All of Us” just in time for the all-important sweeps period — the time when advertisers take a long look at various shows’ ratings, which determine commercial pay rates.

The actor-executive produces “All of Us” with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The pair also helped create the show, based in part upon their own life experiences with divorce and blended families.

Mr. Smith reprises the role he began earlier this season, that of Robert’s old college pal, a character who hopes to get busy with Neesee (LisaRaye), Robert’s ex-wife.

“All of Us,” airing at 8 p.m., also stars Elise Neal, Terri J. Vaughan, Tony Rock and Khamani Griffin.

Ormond’s activism

Actress Julia Ormond loves combining work and pleasure, the latter meaning a healthy dollop of activism.

Her new film, HBO’s “Iron-Jawed Angels,” showcases the women’s suffrage movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

“Actually getting out and using the fact that you’re registered and voting is something that’s hugely important,” Miss Ormond told Associated Press Radio. “I hope that the movie really awakens people to the struggle that went on in order to get women to vote.”

Miss Ormond was named a Star of Tomorrow in 1995 after her first three movies, “Legends of the Fall,” “First Knight” and “Sabrina,” drew plenty of media buzz. However, she said, she didn’t want to wake up one day and regret her life, so she got involved in several causes, including the fight against AIDS in developing countries.

“It was overtaking my life; there was a point for me, waking up in a hotel in Prague going, ‘I don’t want to be 45 and this has been my life,’” said Miss Ormond, 39. “It made me think about what I was doing and try and strive to find more of a balance.”

She also had more time on her hands when her red-hot career cooled down to a simmer.

“Iron-Jawed Angels,” which also stars Hilary Swank and Frances O’Connor, follows a group of radical activists who broke from the mainstream women’s suffrage movement to push even harder for women’s voting rights in the early 1900s. Miss Ormond plays Inez Milholland, who suffered from anemia and died fighting for the cause.

The film premiered Sunday and repeats at 9 tonight on HBO.

Hoffman reprises role

Forget about “plastics.” It’s all about commercials these days, even for the star of the seminal ‘60s film “The Graduate.”

Dustin Hoffman will reprise his rush to the church in the 1967 film — when he thwarted the wedding of Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross) — for a car commercial in which he stops his daughter’s wedding, Associated Press reports.

The ad, being filmed now, is just the second commercial in which he has appeared, the 66-year-old Mr. Hoffman told AP. It will air in Europe only.

In the final scenes of “The Graduate,” Mr. Hoffman’s breakthrough film, his character, Benjamin Braddock, pulls Miss Ross’ character from the church as she’s getting married. They fight off parents and guests before riding away on a bus.

In the car commercial, directed by Michael Bay (“Pearl Harbor”), Mr. Hoffman again rescues the bride, but this time returns to a 2005 Audi.

Scenes from “The Graduate” have been spoofed through the years, but perhaps never so adroitly as when “The Simpsons” interpreted the material. The animated Fox series has parodied “The Graduate,” including the church sequence, in several riotous episodes.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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