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Just Wright (2010)

Starring:

Common

James Pickens Jr.

Pam GrierPam Grier

Paula Patton

Phylicia Rashad

Queen Latifah

Directed by:

Sanaa Hamri

Rating: 5/10

US Certificate: PG

Even with its predictability and foregone conclusions, Just Wright has its good points. Sure, it can be a little too sugary and melodramatic, and yes, Morgan is practically a caricature and we wonder how she’s friends with Leslie in the first place, but Queen Latifah is instantly likeable, and she and Common actually seem like people who like each other. Too bad Pam Grier didn’t have a better role.

Here, she’s the mother of Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah), and she’s just not all that supportive of her down-to-earth, very cool daughter, mainly because Leslie’s living her life quite happily, doing her thing, not scheming and plotting to get a man like her friend Morgan (Paula Patton). Leslie and Morgan are also big fans of the New York Nets—Leslie for the actual sport, Morgan in the hope of finding a tall, handsome meal ticket. Chance encounters lead to both women meeting star Nets player Scott McKnight (Common), and though it’s Morgan who strikes up a romance, it’s physical therapist Leslie who must rehabilitate Scott when he’s injured—and it’s Leslie with whom the sparks really fly.

I wonder, sometimes, if there are fans of romantic comedies who watch them like horror fans—like the same way I LOVE zombies and vampire movies, are there fans of stuff like The Proposal or When Harry Met Sally who love the very specific parameters of the specific sub-categories? In the case of Just Wright, that would be the “girl meets boy, boy falls for hotter friend, first girl and boy eventually discover they love each other” genre. It’s mostly really familiar territory, and everyone knows who’s going to be with whom in the end. Good will win, love will triumph, la dee da. And while there’s no new ground covered, what’s nice is that there’s no call for Leslie to change or have a makeover to find love—it’s fine that she still wears her jeans and jerseys, and she’s still hot without being conventionally so just because she’s so comfortable in her own skin. Also, even though Common isn’t exactly exuding leading man romantic charm and comes off a little stiff at times, he and Queen Latifah have a real chemistry that seems genuine, as if they could really be hanging out and falling in love for real real, and while the film itself isn’t actually ever THAT funny, and nothing ever happens that you didn’t expect all they way through, the presence of honest to god chemistry between two leads is almost enough to make it stand out from the crowd.

It's Got: Leads who seem to like each other, Refreshing “no makeover” stance, Queen Latifah

It Needs: Not to be quite so safe, A few more dimensions to Morgan, Better use of stars like Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad, and James Pickens, Jr.

Alternatives:

Beauty Shop, Hairspray, The Baxter

Summary

Queen Latifah and Common’s chemistry, and the sheer power of the personality of the Queen herself, give this forgettable romantic comedy a little boost.

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