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Leslie Wright, a straight-shooting physical therapist, gets the gig of a lifetime working with NBA All-Star Scott McKnight. Everything is going great until Leslie finds herself falling for Scott. Oblivious to her romantic overtures, McKnight is instead drawn to Leslie’s gorgeous childhood friend Morgan, who has her sights set on being an NBA trophy wife. Is Leslie destined to play the role of “best friend” forever or will Scott finally see that what he has always wanted is right in front of him?
For more about Just Wright and the Just Wright Blu-ray release, see Just Wright Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on September 29, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, Pam Grier, Laz Alonso
Director: Sanaa Hamri
» See full cast & crew
Just Wright Blu-ray Review
Air ball, or nothing but net?
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, September 29, 2010
Actually, Just Wright—a basketball-centric romance starring rappers-turned-actors Queen Latifah and Common—is somewhere in between, like, say, going five for ten at the free-throw line. I was fully prepared for the film to join the league of truly awful rom-com duds I've seen this year— When in Rome, Our Family Wedding, How To Make Love To A Woman—but Just Wright is, if not a good film, at least surprisingly bearable and even occasionally smile-inducing. This is mostly due to Queen Latifah, a rare example in Hollywood of a beautiful plus-sized woman—confident in her appearance—who, to boot, has a grin so infectious the CDC should be keeping tabs on it.
Roommates Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) and Morgan (Paula Patton) share a passion for the New Jersey Nets; Leslie because she's a Jersey born- and-bred B-ball lover, and Morgan because she's obsessed with becoming an "NBA wife." From nosebleed seats in the stands, Leslie, a buxom physical therapist, follows every movement of the ball, while Morgan, dressed in a slinky gown, spies on the players' wives through a pair of binoculars, coveting their designer handbags. You can begin to see where this is going. In the first few scenes the film sets us up for the twin messages it'll spend 100 minutes drilling into our heads—1.) beauty is more than skin deep, and 2.) gold-diggers are, let's see, how should I put this? Oh, let's just come out and say it: triflin' bitches.
Later, in a moment of sublime coincidence, Leslie just so happens to meet the Nets' devastatingly handsome star player, Scott McKnight (Common), at a gas station. They hit it off talking about their mutual love of jazz, and he invites her to his swank birthday party. Leslie brings along Morgan, who—and once again, you can see where this is going—steals Scott's eye and plays hard-to-get. He's smitten. And obviously, since he can't see Morgan is just trying to use him to "become somebody," he's a little daft. Cue the requisite "dating montage," which concludes with Scott proposing. His mother, played by The Cosby Show's Phylicia Rashad, sniffs out Morgan for what she is—a no-good floozy in search of a sugardaddy— while Leslie, outwardly happy for her friend but inwardly bummed out, tries to play it cool.
Before you can say "zone defense," the expectedly unexpected happens—Scott tears a ligament in his knee, putting his NBA career in jeopardy. Not wanting to end up married to a washed up has-been, Morgan calls off the engagement. What a ho, right? So, let's see…who do we know in the film that's a lovelorn physical therapist, capable of healing Scott's body, mind, and soul? Lemme think. Hmm…
I'm drawing a blank…
Hold on, I've almost got it…
It should go without saying that no bookie could ever make money taking bets on the outcome of Just Wright's plot. Even in a genre known for predictability—the lightweight rom-com, more romance than comedy—Michael Elliot's script is unendingly formulaic, each dramatic twist announced by the narrative equivalent of a GPS unit that tells you what turn to take 15 miles in advance. Will Leslie get Scott back into shape—with the help of a training montage—in time for the playoffs? Will the trial-by-fire, day in/day out rehabilitation regiment bring the two together in ways neither of them expected? Will Morgan show up again, begging forgiveness, tying Scott's heart into a complicated knot of emotions? Yes, yes, and—if you didn't already see it coming—yes.
Nevertheless, the film has a certain insuppressible good-naturedness, thanks entirely to its two leads. Queen Latifah is one of those rare people who exude both humility and self-confidence. You may not think much of her as an actress—personally, I think she's better than a lot of people give her credit for—but it's impossible not to like her as a human being. She seems to be made of sunshine—she glows. And Common, who has previously made strong supporting turns in American Gangster and Wanted, shows definite leading man potential. He doesn't have much to do here, but he's got natural screen presence and—as one of the most fashion-conscious rappers of the 2010s—style to spare.
Just Wright isn't a good film—not in any artistic, or even commercially meaningful way—but as rom-coms go, you could do much worse. The movie is earnest and well-meaning, at least, and there's a genuine attempt to make Queen Latifah and Common into well-rounded characters, instead of mere cardboard cutouts. There are basketball scenes for the guys who get tricked into seeing it, and a feel-good romance for the ladies, all accompanied by a worthy—if overstated—message. For many, this might be cornball stuff, but for others, it's…wait for it…Just Wright.
Just Wright Blu-ray, Video Quality
More romance than comedy, it's no surprise that Just Wright forgoes the sanitary, over-lit look of most rom-coms for cinematography that's a little more lush and dramatic. 20th Century Fox's 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation—like the transfers of most of their contemporary films—is by and large excellent. Many rom-coms are going the HD video route these days, but Just Wright was shot on film and it shows, with a natural layer of grain that gives the picture a palpable cinematic texture. Clarity is very strong throughout—though never overly edgy—and you'll spot plenty of high definition detail, from the fine mesh of a basketball jersey and the threading of Queen Latifah's denim jacket, to the pores on Common's face, the beads of sweat on his head post-game, and the individual hairs of his extraordinarily tidy goatee. (Seriously, he could be on the front of one of those beard-dye boxes.) Skintones are rich and consistant, black levels are dense—while preserving relevant shadow detail—and contrast is lightly punched up, giving the image a pleasingly weighty appearance. Likewise, color is vivid—see the blue Orlando uniforms or the gold tone of Leslie's beat-up Mustang— and a warm cast covers most scenes. I didn't spot any errant compression problems or transfer-related mishaps.
Just Wright Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The film arrives on Blu-ray with Fox's usual, a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The first thing you'll notice, from the opening credits, is that the music sounds great, with crisp snare hits, deep-but-defined bass, and a strong sense of separation and envelopment. This keeps up throughout —anytime there's a song playing, anyway. Like most romantic comedies, Just Wright is heavy on the dialogue and light on just about everything else—music excluded. The track makes what it can out of the film's limited opportunities for surround channel usage—cheering at Izod Center, chatter in a sushi restaurant, party ambience—but there's nothing here that will test the power of your home theater setup. And that's okay. It's enough for this kind of film that the dialogue is clean and clear—which it is—and anything else is just a bonus. I do particularly like the sound effect of the basketball being dribbled across the hardwood court—it has a nice, weighty thunk to it.
Just Wright Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The One You Can't Live Without (1080p, 6:57)
Pretty typical EPK-style promo, with on-set footage, plenty of talking heads, and a synopsis of the film's plot and themes.
Common on the Fast Break (1080p, 5:04)
Common talks about his basketball history, which started with his father, who played for the ABA.
When Amazing Happens (1080p, 6:52)
A quick featurette about the use of the use of the NBA and real players like Dwight Howard, Bobby Simmons, and Dwayne Wade in the film.
Gag Reel (1080p, 2:39)
Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 2:26)
Just Wright Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Better than I thought it would be isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but it's the best I can give to Just Wright, a by-the-book romance that's short on surprises but filled with Queen Latifah's irrepressible exuberance. The film is at least better than some of the similar stuff that Tyler Perry has been putting out lately. Blu-ray specs are solid on this one as well. Bottom line? Just Wright is for rom-com regulars only.
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Just Wright Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Just Wright Announced on Blu-ray - June 30, 2010
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced Just Wright for Blu-ray release on September 14. This PG-rated romantic sports film from Fox Searchlight stars Queen Latifah as a physical therapist who falls for the NBA star she's working with (played by ...
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