Just Wright Is Just Okay

just wright squareQueen Latifah has had a busy decade in terms of her film career.  From appearing on episodes of the television show Spin City in 2001 to last year’s third installment in the Ice Age franchise, she has also had a variety of projects dotting the landscape along the way.  Latifah has appeared comedies such as Scary Movie 3 and the critically acclaimed musical Chicago.  The rapper-turned-actress has had a very productive 2010 as she co-starred in Valentine’s Day and now takes top billing in her latest work, Just Wright. The Newark native brings her big heart persona to the May release of this light-hearted romance.

The film takes place in the actress’s native state of New Jersey where she takes on the role of a chief physical therapist, Leslie Wright.  Leslie doesn’t seem to have any trouble landing a date.  Her hurdle is trying to make it to a second one with the same guy.  “Let’s just be friends” is a statement she is all too familiar with.  Meanwhile, her live-in best friend Morgan (Paula Patton) is blessed with Hollywood looks and one very hot body and has her way with just about any man she encounters.

just wright evening

One fateful night, Leslie and Morgan head out to a New Jersey Nets game to watch their favorite team take control of the hardwood.  Leslie is there to cheer on Nets standout, Scott McKnight, played by rapper/actor Common, who is in the final year of his contract and holds his ranking among the NBA’s best.  The guy dominates the court and Leslie and Morgan eventually depart the game as happy fans.  Later that evening, Leslie just happens to run into McKnight off the court and the connection is made.  As the film progresses, Morgan boxes out Leslie’s attempts to get to know McKnight until he suffers a serious injury and Leslie’s rehabilitative talents are called upon.  Let the fireworks begin.

The film features cameos from some of the NBA’s biggest talent including Dwight Howard, Elton Brand, and Dwyane Wade.  Unfortunately, not even the positive shock factor of seeing these guys show up on the big screen provides any oomph to boost this film’s acting credibility.  Queen Latifah does alright in her role and Paula Patton is on some equal plain where both don’t necessarily knock your socks off, but they do well enough to get the point across.  On the other hand, Common struggles in his role.  In the action flick Wanted, I liked the guy.  Granted his screen time was limited, but he did well as the silent yet menacing pistol expert.

just wright Nets

In Just Wright, he has a far more important role and is basically second in command as far as actors in this film.  His efforts to keep up with co-stars Latifah and Patton are sketchy at best.  Common’s lines are delivered unconvincingly and inconsistently throughout the movie.  The ultimate effect results in detaching the audience from relating to the characters, especially his.  The story is predictable and is one that is difficult to just sit back and have fun with for even a matinee price of $8.50.  It’s not a deep plot, which is fine, but a better leading man could have provided stronger pillars of support.  On a good day, Just Wright doesn’t get any better than bringing home straight C’s on its report card.  As far as recommended viewings go, I’d say a rental is ‘just right’.

just wright poster


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