Nikki Blonsky comes up big in 'Huge'

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THE SHOW "Huge"

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Camp Victory is a weight-loss camp for kids who have issues beyond their immediate health concerns. New arrival Willamina, or "Will" (Blonsky), could not care less. She flaunts her disdain of the whole process, even affecting a humorous striptease after camp leader Dorothy Rand (Gina Torres) demands she strip down to her bathing suit.

Losing weight isn't part of her plan, and she arrives with a suitcase filled with junk food that she sells to the other girls. Will clashes with just about everyone, including pretty and less zaftig Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of David), but becomes pals with Becca (Raven Goodwin).

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As they bunk down, Becca happily shows Will the camp-provided diary "so we can express our feelings." Will tosses hers in the trash: "Don't have 'em," she says.

MY SAY Developed by Winnie Holzman and her daughter, Savannah Dooley, "Huge" looks and feels like a show that knows what it's talking about. The shame, pain, issues of control and bursting teen hormones - are sharply drawn in the kids.

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But it's clear Holzman has saved her best for Will. Complicated, surly, repressed, she is far from likable, but she's also far from uninteresting. What made Will such a bitter reprobate at the age of (what?) 15? Blonsky does a nice and almost-too-convincing job with the troubled teen who carries around her weight as though the very world were on her shoulders. "Hairspray" fans won't see a hint of Tracy Turnblad.

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GRADE B+

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