Fox // 2010 // 101 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 27th, 2010
In this game every shot counts.
My editor assigned this to me because he knows I like basketball. I need to take up jai alai instead. There's got to be fewer tired, formulaic romantic comedies about jai alai, right?
Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is a successful physical therapist who scores the job of her life when she's tasked with helping superstar NBA point guard Scott McKnight (Common) rehab from a catastrophic knee injury. The two form a bond and the only thing standing between them and Movie Happiness is Leslie's sexy, superficial best friend who's eyeing the high life as the spouse of a pro athlete.
I'm not going to keep you in suspense. Just Wright isn't very good. It's relatively innocuous and the characters are pleasant enough, but the whole enterprise just feels so airy and inconsequential it will certainly evaporate from your memory the second the end credits roll.
I sort of wish I liked it. I'm not anti-romcom, and, yes, I do like basketball, and Queen Latifah is charismatic screen presence. Also, it's rated PG, a rarity these days, especially for a live-action feature. But Just Wright wasn't interested in giving me a good time, settling instead for a predictable plot -- spiced up by the occasional character decision that makes no sense (really, he's going to take her back?!) -- and a surprising vacuum of laughs. I know the film was more concerned with the romance than the levity, but you've got have a little bit of humor to wash down the sentimentality a tad easier.
Queen Latifah and Common had some decent chemistry together, though it seemed a lot more "friendly" than "sexy," ironic considering Latifah's character is constantly lamenting the fact that all the guys look at her as solid friend material instead of something more. Latifah is the strong part of the tandem, dialing down the spunk and opting for a more laid-back, introverted performance. She's extremely likable, and helps compensate for Common's occasional stiffness.
In the end, this thing wraps up pretty much how you'd expect it to, albeit in goofy fashion, when Scott achieves the requisite Romantic Epiphany during an interview with Stuart Scott. Oof. (I was tempted to employ a spoiler tag, but, really, the only way you wouldn't know what was coming in this movie is if you were recently unfrozen.)
Fox's Blu-ray is just as milquetoast. The 2.40:1 (AVC @32 MBPS) transfer is okay, though not mind-blowing in its resolution. The picture quality lacks the high-end sheen we tend to see on the big-time releases and the colors struck me as rather dull. A noticeable upgrade over DVD? Sure, but not by a lot. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is clean, but bored with all the front-loaded dialogue. Extras: featurettes on the NBA's involvement in the film, Common's role as a basketball player, a standard-issue making-of and a gag reel.
It's no slam dunk. But it's not a brick. Let's call Just Wright a technical free throw.
Take a seat on the bench.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Gag Reel