Just Wright is about as formulaic as romantic comedies get. If I wanted to I could easily tear the film to shreds for its sheer predictability. However, I’ve gotten to the point as a moviegoer where I’ve officially come to accept the clichés of contemporary romantic comedies. That’s one of the reasons why I accepted last year’s screwball romance The Proposal for what it was. After all, not every romantic comedy can be as fresh or inspired as Definitely, Maybe or 500 Days of Summer. All I ask is that the movie is funny and appealing. On that basis, Just Wright almost makes the cut.
Queen Latifah plays Leslie Wright, a 35-year-old woman with a great, optimistic personality. But all the guys she goes out with merely think of her as a home girl rather than girlfriend material. Leslie isn’t particularly concerned with finding a man. Her best friend Morgan, played by Paula Patton, on the other hand, makes marrying a NBA all-star her top priority. Morgan is so obsessed with bagging a famous, wealthy husband that she makes Tiana’s prince-crazy best friend in The Princess and the Frog look like an independent woman.
Leslie, a born and raised Nets fan, is psyched when she runs into the team’s star player Scott McKnight, played by the rapper Common, at a gas station. The two hit it off and Scott invites Leslie to his birthday bash. At the party though, Scott overlooks Leslie when he lays his eyes on Morgan. Scott and Morgan begin to pursue a relationship, which leads to a premature marriage proposal. Shortly after they announce their engagement, Scott critically injures his knee during a game. It appears that Scott may never play basketball again. Fortunately Leslie just so happens to be a physical therapist. She helps to mend Scott’s wounded knee and … well I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what happens from there.
Latifah is charming and full of life as Leslie, which leaves me wondering why she doesn’t play romantic leads more often. Common, who typically plays grittier roles in movies like Wanted, American Gangster, and Terminator: Salvation, is surprisingly likable as Scott. Most romantic comedies today such as What Happens in Vegas and The Ugly Truth fall completely flat due to the unpleasant and inexplicable leads who would never fall in love in real life. Latifah and Common though, have terrific chemistry as two people who are right for each other, hence the title.
The problem with Just Wright is that there simply aren’t a lot of laughs. I smiled every now and then due to Latifah’s lively spirit. But I didn’t laugh out loud once throughout the picture. Given the recent downfall of the romantic comedy, I’m almost tempted to grade Just Wright on a curve and upgrade it to three stars. However, I can’t knowingly send people to a romantic comedy with a significant lack of humor.
Just Wright is far from a bad movie and might make for a pleasant rental on a Saturday night. It’s just not worth spending $10 and an hour and a half of your life on. If you go to the Cineplex in search of a date movie though, I’d highly recommend that you settle for Just Wright over The Bounty Hunter or The Back-up Plan.
Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the past five years, reviewing movies on his website, http://www.freewebs.com/radman_ns.