(2010)2.5Jason BuchananSome movies amaze us with their unpredictability; others charm us with their familiarity. Just Wright falls into the latter category, constructing its plot on tried-and-true romance tropes and sapping any suspense by essentially giving away the outcome in the title. Director Sanaa Hamri and screenwriter Michael Elliot make no attempts to prove they're out to reinvent the romantic comedy genre. They're simply telling a sweet Cinderella story with a contemporary twist, all while throwing basketball into the mix in a shameless bid for cross-gender appeal.
Try as she might, physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) just can't find a guy who sees her as anything other than a homegirl. Pretty, compassionate, and outgoing, she's constantly being overshadowed by her stunningly beautiful best friend, Morgan (Paula Patton), who pays more attention to the athletes' wives in the stands than the action on the floor when the two women head out to a New Jersey Nets game. Morgan's lifelong dream is to marry an NBA player, and she gets her opportunity when Leslie strikes up a fast friendship with Nets superstar Scott McKnight (Common) after a chance meeting at a local gas station. Later, when McKnight suffers a career-threatening injury, jealous Morgan fires his sexy physical therapist and replaces her with Leslie. Now, the more Leslie and Scott work to get the sidelined NBA superstar back on the court, the closer they grow. When Morgan walks out on Scott unexpectedly, it's Leslie who helps him to work through his depression and inspires him to give it his all in his comeback game. Just when it seems as if Leslie's fairy-tale romance is finally becoming a reality, Morgan comes back into the picture seeking Scott's forgiveness, and it all starts to fall apart.
Neither romance fans nor sports fans are likely to find anything they didn't expect in Just Wright, but those in search of a little comfort cinema could do far worse. Personable and possessing a smile that lights up the screen, Latifah is believable as both a die-hard sports fan and a compassionate physical therapist. It's easy to sympathize with her when she meets the man of her dreams, only to watch him look straight through her once Morgan enters into his line of sight. Essentially the villain of the film, Morgan is given a little extra dimension by the talented Patton, playing what essentially amounts to the polar opposite of her character in Precious with equal conviction. And though Latifah's chemistry with Common is far from combustible, Elliot's screenplay does a decent job of fleshing out their characters, and both actors exude the kind of charm that makes viewers want them to connect regardless. Inoffensive yet instantly forgettable, Just Wright may not be the slam-dunk romantic comedy that appeals to both males and females, but it does score a respectable lay-up thanks to its star appeal and unpretentious approach.
When NBA All-Star Scott McKnight (Common) suffers a debilitating injury, tough-talking physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) pulls out all the stops to get him back on his game. But their professional relationship turns personal when Leslie finds herself falling for Scott, and discovers the feeling may be mutual. Paula Patton co-stars in a romantic comedy penned by Michael Elliot and directed by Sanaa Hamri.