Its pointless title — what does Just Wright mean, anyway? — is totally appropriate to this tepid, almost conflict-free romantic drama. It made me feel almost nothing, beyond reigniting my fervent desire for someone in Hollywood to see what a treasure Queen Latifah is and turn her into the star she deserves to be.
It’s hard to tell whether screenwriter Michael Elliot and director Sanaa Hamri see their heroine, Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) — independent single gal, succesful physical therapist — as an ordinary woman or as some sort of freak. Leslie is refreshingly realistic about her romantic life: she would like a special someone in her life, but she’s not willing to compromise who she is in order to get him. She’s not shallow like her friend Morgan (Paula Patton), who calls her calculated grasping for a wealthy husband her “job.” I’m going to pretend, because it makes me feel a little better, that Just Wright isn’t suggesting that there’s anything wrong with Leslie, but is instead offering us the plight of the grown-up gal who longs for a genuine relationship with an equal who loves who she actually is.
But then ... why does she fall for NBA player Scott McKnight (Common)? Silly confluences of events put this handsome athlete in the paths of both Leslie and Morgan, and of course he falls for Morgan to the point at which he’s about to propose marriage after only a few months of dating. Except Morgan is a materialistic, manipulative brat with absolutely no personality of her own, and how could Scott McKnight not see that? My first impression of rapper Common as an actor in the most prominent role I’ve ever seen him in is that he’s absolutely terrible: cute, but awful at conveying the slightest hint of realistic emotion or thought. But now that I reconsider, perhaps Scott is supposed to be a complete dolt. Maybe Scott simply is incapable of seeing past a pretty face and a superficial demeanor even after months and months in Morgan’s giddy, insincere presence.
In which case he’s an idiot who doesn’t deserve Leslie and is not worthy of her.
Maybe that’s the sad message of Just Wright: any adult woman who is holding out for an actual adult man is fooling herself, and will eventually settle for an inoffensively stupid overgrown child?
Oh, man, that’s depressing.