From Black Voices — While the story is very predictable from start to finish in ‘Just Wright,’ the chemistry between Queen Latifah and Common is just wrong. But, given the vibrant performance that Latifah gives, this romantic comedy may cut it for some looking for an evening’s entertainment.
Queen Latifah stars as Leslie Wright, a physical therapist who’s unlucky in love and a diehard New Jersey Nets fan. When her dates go running the other way, Wright goes to the games to keep from being depressed. Tagging along is her gold-digging, beautiful but shallow god-sister Morgan (played by Paula Patton).
By happenstance, Wright meets her favorite Nets player, Scott McKnight (played by Common), and gets invited to his birthday party. The event turns sour as Wright watches McKnight falls head over heals for Morgan, who set the bait to snare him. Before long they are a couple engaged to be married, leaving Leslie to go back home and help her dad work on the fixer upper that she bought.
When McKnight suffers an injury on the court that threatens his career and life with the Nets, Morgan encourages Leslie to come help Scott as his live-in physical therapist. As tough talking and reluctantly each of them are, sparks begin to fly for the player and Leslie, but will it last?
If there’s any reason to watch this film, it’s Queen Latifah. She’s charming and makes every scene work for her. She moves the film with grace and provides a sense of realism in Leslie.
As for Common, he’s been confined to relatively small supporting roles (‘Smokin’ Aces,’ ‘Terminator: Salvation,’ and ‘Date Night’) and taking on a lead role at this stage of his career may have been premature. His performance comes across as bland and wooden. Screenwriter Mike Elliot, who wrote another romantic comedy, ‘Brown Sugar,’ with Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan, seemed to be pandering to Common’s limitations as an actor. His dialogue with the NBA players could have been written by the players themselves.
Blame also goes to the producers for casting Phylicia Rashad and Pam Grier in roles that are wasted. Both of these women are screen and TV legends and while ‘Jackie Brown’ was over ten years ago, Grier is not at the twilight of her career.
Aside from the cameos by a number of NBA all-stars, directed Sanaa Hamri takes the safest route in telling a feel-good story of love and basketball; and while Common may be playing a guard in the film, it’s really Queen Latifah who’s running point and sometimes that enough to score a win with audiences.
Photo Source: Fox Searchlight-David Lee
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