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Just Wright

Just Wright

Rated PG, 99 min. Directed by Sanaa Hamri. Starring Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, James Pickens Jr., Pam Grier.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., May 14, 2010

In this completely rote modern romance, the only surprising plot element is that the New Jersey Nets, the favorite ball team of heroine Leslie Wright (Latifah), are basketball championship contenders, who play nightly to sold-out stadiums and whose star player, Scott McKnight (Common), is one of America’s most famous bachelors. If you can buy that premise after the Nets’ current league-record losing season, then at least Just Wright won’t be the equivalent of throwing salt into an open wound. Leslie is a 35-year-old physical therapist who has been unlucky in love. She’s the kind of woman guys want to pal around with, but not the kind they fall in love with. Her cousin Morgan (Patton) is her opposite: a gold digger and a girlie girl. The plot thickens when Leslie gets a hook-up to a party Scott is throwing at his mansion (after she helps him find the gas cap on his fancy car during a chance meeting at a gas station – thank goodness for self-service pumps) and then Morgan catches Scott’s eye at the party. From this point onward, the plot is thoroughly predictable. Scott and Morgan plan to wed, Scott is injured, Leslie is hired as his physical therapist, Morgan leaves the doomed player, Leslie and Scott grow closer, struggle and inspiration follow, Scott returns to basketball, and Morgan returns to Scott. Then an 11th-hour rectification occurs. It’s all so formulaic it could be plotted on graph paper. Latifah and Common have a nice chemistry, though it would be nice to see more of Latifah’s comic attributes in this film. Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, and a host of other NBA players and ancillary personnel get some screen time. Director Hamri has a background in music videos, but she’s also the director of the uncommonly perceptive 2006 romance Something New, so we still hope for better things from her in the future. Meanwhile, this pleasant but dull formula film will have to suffice.
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