Just when you thought 'Letters to Juliet' took the biscuit for this year's most horrendous rom-com, an even dumber and less realistic movie rears its ugly production head. If the asinine wordplay with the title doesn't have a mind-numbing effect, perhaps the contemporary take on the 'Cinderella'/'Ugly Duckling' fairytale will.
Fun-loving Leslie Wright (Latifah) is a 35-year-old physical therapist who has been unlucky in love. She's the sort of woman guys want to be friends with, but not the kind they consider to be marriage material. Leslie's cousin Morgan (Patton), however, is a high maintenance gold digger and a wannabe basketball WAG.
As the contrived plot has it, Wright meets her favorite New Jersey Nets All-star player at a gas station. Of course, Scott McKnight (Common) is the perfect gentleman who can do no wrong, and even finds it in his humble heart to invite his stunned fan to his swanky birthday bash.
When McKnight suffers an injury on the court that threatens his career, Morgan, who is now his fiancée, replaces Scott's stunning blonde rehabilitation expert with the less intimidating Leslie. Despite the fact that she lacks the much-needed qualifications and only has the basic skills, Leslie vows to get him back on the court before the season is over. The two soon form a deep connection which supposedly blossoms into some sort of romance. This ultimately leaves the ball player to make one of his toughest life decisions; the trophy wife or the possible soulmate?
Unlike most Jennifer Lopez corny movies, Queen Latifah has an immensely likeable screen persona, and even manages to deliver her clichéd lines in style. Likewise, Common uses his ever-beaming smile and soft-spoken charm to his advantage. But there is absolutely no chemistry at all between the pair, and at times Common's flippant glances says it all.
Some of the other actors don't exactly bring their A-game either. Patton as the rapacious girlfriend has little to do in the film except scheme and complain, while Grier is one of the least memorable support acts to sweep through a flick in quite some time. Only James Pickens Jr as Leslie's dad underplays his role with a sense of vulnerability and believability.
Dull and predictable, 'Just Wright' is dreadfully paced and starts to feel drawn out after the first hour. It may reel in a few sports enthusiasts with its just-about-bearable basketball sequences and random appearances by NBA celebrities but it lacks any sort of direction and also fails to give its audience any intellectual credit.
Unfortunately 'Just Wright' shoots but never scores.