Miss Wright Meets her McKnight
The first time I watched Queen Latifah in a movie I wasn't impressed but over the years Latifah has grown into a lovely actress and it is her performance, the tenderness and wit which she brings to "Just Wright" which makes it pleasant. I say pleasant because take Queen Latifah out of the picture and what we have is a predictable romantic comedy which seems to be out of balance as it takes and age to get going. But pleasant it is, and whilst I doubt "Just Wright" will reach anyone's list of great movies it ends up a nice distraction.
Physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah - Mad Money) is a huge basketball fan and when she meets her idol Scott McKnight (Common - Date Night) in a gas station she finds herself being invited to a party at his. The trouble is that whilst Leslie likes Scott her best friend Morgan (Paula Patton - Precious) likes him more, well likes the fact that he is a rich, single NBA player and sets out to trap him so that she can become a WAG. But matters become complicated when Scott suffers a career threatening injury and whilst Leslie treats him their friendship grows whilst Morgan's shallowness shows.
So to start with let me tell you what is right about "Just Wright" and it is simply Queen Latifah as Leslie Wright. Latifah may spend a lot of the movie smiling, to the point that it must have ached, but she nrings this gentleness to the movie which is charming. It doesn't take long to fall in love with Leslie despite being the cliche character of the one who always loses out to someone else and that is purely down to the fact Queen Latifah makes her likeable but also tough. I suppose in a way it border on being a stereotypical performance of a stereotypical character but when stereotypical is right it doesn't matter.
Unfortunately whilst "Just Wright" is still entertaining the rest of the movie is average at best and unfortunately the rest of the performances fail to really work. I'm sure the character of Morgan was meant to be over the top shallow but the way Paula Patton plays her is too over the top and unnatural. It is the same with Common as Scott McKnight because the awkwardness of his character, the way he tries to act smooth and sexy, lowering and slowing his voice just doesn't work.
And then there is the storyline itself which for anyone who watches romantic comedies will guess how "Just Wright" will end up the minute Miss Wright meets her McKnight. That isn't so much of an issue but the fact that it feels out of balance as we get a long build up to when for me the storyline starts. It seems to go around in circles for ages as Morgan and Scott become a couple and you begin to wonder when he's going to get hurt as it never feels like it's coming. Maybe that was intentional, to take the movie out of the traditional time blocks that these sorts of movies run to but it means the time that Leslie and Scott share on screen ends up feeling short compared to the rest of the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Just Wright" is a pleasant little romantic comedy which is light on comedy. But it is only really pleasant because of a charming performance from Queen Latifah which makes the movie work.