01/12/2006 at 08:00 AM EST
No Hollywood Boulevard or Times Square premiere for Queen Latifah. The star unveiled her latest movie, Last Holiday, across the Hudson River from Manhattan – in her hometown of Newark, N.J.
"It just means I don't have to go far to get home from the premiere," Latifah, who has homes in New Jersey and Los Angeles, said on the red carpet Wednesday night. "My whole family is here, so it's wonderful. I can celebrate with Jersey for a change."
Speaking in the parking lot of the theater, city Mayor Sharpe James gushed of the 35-year-old Latifah: "She's our queen. This young lady is so multitalented. She's still the girl next door. She still comes home to Newark."
As part of her entourage, Latifah brought along costar LL Cool J and comedian (and Jersey boy) Joe Piscopo. "Here's a Jersey girl who could premiere this film anywhere she wants, but she gave Newark the jump on Hollywood," said the former Saturday Night Live star, as quoted by the Associated Press.
The comedy, which has earned positive early reviews, also stars Timothy Hutton and Gerard Depardieu. In it, Latifah plays a modest cookware saleswoman in a department store who decides to kick up her heels in Europe after she is diagnosed with a fatal illness.