#1  
Old 05-15-2010, 11:26 AM
Sanaa Hamri's Just Wright

Here's the link to the published version of the review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-3...ew-Just-Wright



http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-3...ew-Just-Wright

Just Wright (2010)

I remember watching this film a couple of weeks back when it was called "The Back-Up Plan" and before that it was known by many other titles. Sure the plots aren't necessarily the same, but they hit the exact same beats every single time. So this time, we have the same old, dried-up formula coming back for another round, this time with some sport sprinkled in.

Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah), a physical therapist, lives together with her best friend, Morgan (Paula Patton), who dreams of becoming the wife of a basketball player. After attending a New Jersey Nets game, Leslie meets the star of the team, Scott McKnight (Common), at a gas station where they strike up a conversation that ends with Leslie getting invited to his birthday party. Leslie brings along Morgan, who hopes to get Scott to notice her. While Leslie and Scott talk, Morgan makes her move, leaving an impression on him. So much so that they start dating and even become engaged.

During one of his games, Scott has an accident that causes a ligament in his knee to be torn. This is an injury that could possibly end his career if itís not looked after. If only there was a physical therapist that could help him! Leslie ends up becoming his live-in therapist, nursing his knee back to health. Well, you can pretty much guess what happens from here.

This film has one good thing going for it, and that's the charm that Queen Latifah brings to the role of Leslie, but it's not nearly enough to recommend this predictable, formulaic retread. Sharing the screen with Latifah for most of the film is rapper Common, who never puts any emotion into a single line of dialogue he speaks throughout his scenes. It's curious as to why the filmmakers would allow him to be so blank when the role requires emotion to make it work.

This is the main reason why the romance between him and Morgan (and eventually Leslie) is never believable, which ends up putting this film into the category of romantic-comedies that don't have any romance, and are just not that funny. It has a few funny moments here and there, but they are too sparse to leave any impact.

If we look at the formula, we can easily apply it to this film. First, Leslie and Scott just happen to run into each other at the gas station. It becomes obvious from the start that there is something between these two. However, instead of getting right to it like most films do, an obstacle is thrown in her way: her friend, Morgan.

Then it needs only for Scott to get hurt as an excuse for Leslie and Scott to get together, and to show just how shallow Morgan really is. This leads into a very stretched out second act where we know they are in love, but neither of them seem to know it until much, much later. Then, in the spot where there's usually a stupid misunderstanding, there is merely a stupid character who is unable to tell who really loves him, and who just wants him for his money.

All of this predictability and retreading of the same old formula just makes for one long, stretched-out film that leaves the audience waiting for the inevitable to happen. I know I've been repeating myself for this film and the others exactly like it ("When in Rome," She's Out of My League," "The Back-Up Plan," The Bounty Hunter," etc.), but if you've seen any of the previous incarnations of this formula, then you don't have to bother wasting your time on this one. 2/4 stars.
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