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Getting the Rote Romcom Just Wright

JUST WRIGHT Queen Latifah decrees, "NO MORE SALADS!!!"

JUST WRIGHT Queen Latifah decrees, "NO MORE SALADS!!!"

MAINSTREAM ROMANTIC COMEDIES have more in common with Mad Libs than they do with the average YA novel, and are about as suspenseful as watching someone assemble IKEA furniture to see if they can do it right. The secret to making a film that's telling a story roughly as unvarying as a Playboy video is to sprinkle it with authentically funny supporting characters, throw in some charming clothes, and if you're really going the extra mile, go on and add a plot twist.

Just Wright has a twist, and it's not that our female protagonist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is a physical therapist and her male counterpart Scott McKnight (Common) is an NBA star—that pairing makes perfect sense. The twist is that Scott is fabulously wealthy and sought after, while Leslie is, as she puts it, "not one of them salad-eatin' girls." Which apparently is so crazy that the filmmakers felt content that the fat girl getting the guy would sufficiently blow everyone's minds, so they sat back and made the rest of the film out of cardboard lines and predictable turns of events.

Common is inadvertently hilarious in much of his delivery, like a guileless kid blinded by the lights of the school theater; on the other hand, his scenes on the basketball court are, at least to a rube's eyes, pretty convincing. Latifah is cute (but didn't she used to be sassy?), and it's only believable her character would have a hard time with men when she's foisted next to her gold-digging sister Morgan (Paula Patton), whose only goal in life is to be an NBA trophy wife, and who steers Scott's attention for most of the film. And throughout, the b-ball backdrop is—and don't act surprised—a mere set piece to a drama about looks, money, and dashed hopes. Fill in happy ending here: ______.

Just Wright
Rated PG · 111 min. · 2010
Official Site: www.foxsearchlight.com/justwright
Director: Sanaa Hamri
Writer: Michael Elliot
Cast: Paula Patton, Queen Latifah, Pam Grier, Common, Mehcad Brooks, Michael Landes, Phylicia Rashad, James Pickens Jr., Ruby Feliciano and Kevin Navayne

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