Review in a Hurry: This basketball-themed rom-com shoots but never quite scores. Queen Latifah stars as a physical therapist who totally crushes on an NBA All-Star player while helping him recuperate from a crushed knee. Unlike the real NBA, Just Wright has no Magic or Heat.
The Bigger Picture: Romantic comedies offer few surprises—you're rarely left Up in the Air about which two beautiful people will end up together. And while Wright stays all-too-safely within the boundaries of the genre, what is surprising is how many times this love-game movie drops the ball before the final buzzer.
Latifah always exudes warmth and charm onscreen, but needs a more complexly written character than Leslie Wright, a sweet, b-ball-lovin' Jersey girl looking for Mr. Right. One evening after a Nets game, she conveniently bumps into handsome point-guard Scott McKnight (Common, lacking charisma), who not only rules the court but also volunteers for charities and plays the piano! Slam dunk!
Invited to McKnight's birthday party, Leslie mistakenly brings along her gorgeous god-sister Morgan (Paula Patton), a gold-digging "NBA wife"-wannabe. Seeing her shot, Morgan blocks Leslie's romantic passes, makes a fast break and soon moves into McKnight's McMansion.
But when he suffers a career-threatening knee injury, Morgan calls off their engagement. Leslie becomes his full-time rehab therapist (despite having no experience with pro athletes) and nurses the broken guy back to health, physically and mentally—just in time for the playoffs weeks later.
Will McKnight ever realize Leslie is the woman of his hoop dreams? The outcome is obvious, though difficult to buy, given the noticeable absence of chemistry between Common and Latifah. Plus, it's tough to root for a guy—and to root for Leslie to land a guy—who falls for Morgan's transparent scheming not once, but twice.
Though poorly paced and overly long, the flick might net some fans with visually exciting basketball sequences—and cameos by NBA stars. But it ultimately fouls out from all the clichés and contrivances. Too many wrongs does not make this Wright.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Screen vets Pam Grier and Phylicia Rashad—as Leslie's mom and Scott's mom, respectively—add a dash of class and sass, even if they're not given enough to do.
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