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In the game of love, every shot you take counts
Just when you think this film is nothing more than a big blow out of cliches and bad stereotypes, the film's star player, Queen Latifah manages to take the ball, with the last few minutes of the game, and score the winning shot with it's audiences. In an era of cliche modern romance movies, it seems "Just Wright" fits the bill of what most audiences expect from love stories these days. You'll have to forgive me for my particular writing style for this review, as I happen to be a huge NBA fan. Naturally, a romance film with an NBA backdrop, I just can't resist reviewing this film like a sports writer would do for a play by play analysis of a basketball game. Seriously, like Queen Latifah's character, I love this game.
For those who are unfamiliar with this movie, I'll gladly fill you in on the play by play style of this film. "Just Wright" is essentially a modern day "Cinderella" story, with an NBA backdrop added to it. Queen Latifah plays the sweet and charming heroine of this story. Then you have the egotistical evil step sister type character in Paula Patton, who may seem adoring and sweet when you first meet her, but she's really a heartless and selfish wench. Then you have the naive, but surprisingly talented prince charming, who happens to be a NBA superstar player, named Scott McKnight (Common). Although Scott McKnight is the star NBA player in the movie, who seems to be bigger than such prestigious names as Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard, but the real star of the film itself is Queen Latifah. Forget about the superstar basketball player of this film, as he's just a role player in this movie. As I said before, the movie's real go to clutch player is Queen Latifah.
Taking the film on her shoulders, as she carries it to victory with an array of impressive energy three point shots and drives at the emotional strings of the audience. With the film struggling with it's predictable story lines and cliched ridden characters, Queen Latifah performs like a pro and hits the shots that count the most. Giving off a irresistible charm that's too hard to ignore. I'll admit, I'm not particularly a huge fan of hers. The main reason why is that like Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Aniston, she always seems to play the same type of character. Sure, the name and the scenarios might be different, but Queen Latifah seems to play every role she takes on exactly the same. Heck, even in this year's earlier romantic comedy, "Valentine's Day", where she had to play a heartless b**** in most of the movie, you still can't help but feel your watching the same Queen Latifah you saw in her old T.V. show, "Living Single." Seriously, Queen has never been known to be a versatile actress in Hollywood but when it comes to this movie, she's the star player. Indeed, it doesn't matter who's in the scene with her, whether it be Dwight Howard or even her leading man Common, the focus is always about her, as her talent to just make any movie positive shines through.
Sure, you'll be dragged into the subplot of how McKnight falls for Morgan (Paul Patton), and marries her. Only to be dumped by her, when he gets a near career ending injury, during the all-star break. However, that only sets it up for the story to build up towards the obvious outcome of Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) and Scott McKnight (Common) to get more acquainted as she nurses him back to health.
Sadly though, outside of Queen's performance there really wasn't much else that was likable about the movie. Like any true NBA fan will tell you, one man cannot do it alone to win championships. Not even the great legendary Michael Jordan won his titles without help. The same concept bodes well for movies too. As much as Queen's enthusiasm and charisma shines through in this role, that still doesn't diminish the fact that the entire movie was extremely predictable and none of the characters had any sort of depth to them. Unlike "Pretty Woman" that was essentially another "Cinderella" like story, at least that film was able to convey some intriguing new concepts to the love story. Setting it in not only modern times, but making the unlikely "Cinderella" character a prostitute of all people. A concept that was somewhat original for it's time. However, the only original concept "Just Wright" has is that it involves an NBA back drop to support it. Outside of that, this film contains far too flaws story wise, as you can practically tell what's going to happen from beginning to the end when you watch it.
Although I will say that the dialogue for this film is far better than I expected, as it would've been so easy for them to ham that up due to the very predictable nature of this movie.
Like any good basketball team or movie, you need teamwork among your actors, writer(s), director to be all on the same page for success. Unfortunately, it seems "Just Wright" is a one man or I should say one woman show. Without Queen's performance, then this film would've been hardly worth anyone's time or money. However, her charisma and positive energy seems to give this movie life that one wouldn't have expected.
Overall, "Just Wright" is a fairly decent romance movie, and it should be entertaining to most general audiences of this genre. I just wouldn't expect anything more out of it if you're looking for originality and a great story line. No, "Just Wright" is essentially just another run of the mill romance movie. With it's star player, Queen Latifah, leading the charge and hitting the game winning shot to seal the deal with audiences.