QUEEN LATIFAH COMMON PAULA PATTON
From Sanaa Hamri director of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (insert frown here), comes a romantic comedy that has good intentions in the worst of ways. Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah has yet to match her success and peak with Chicago and Hairspray, for a brief moment it appeared the R&B singer was about to hit a winning stride. With Just Wright, Latifah is back to the type of unimpressive roles and films that destroy credibility and embarrass when it comes to box office numbers. Sure the demographic for this film is specific, but it’s the same demographic Tyler Perry plays to and the numbers couldn’t be more different.
Two sisters become friends with NBA superstar Scott McKnight (Common) in their New Jersey home town. The flirtatious, model like Morgan (Patton) wants nothing more than to be one of those rich basketball player wives, she is out to trap any player she can to fulfill her dreams. Leslie (Latifah) however simply wants a man who can’t live without her. As Scott and Morgan become close and then engaged, their coupling doesn’t last long when Scott suffers a deal breaking injury on the court. Leslie a physical therapist begins helping and motivating Scott to get back in the game, while Morgan refuses to wait for him to heal.
The script scores points early in the film, we assume we know how the story is going to play out, with the obnoxious Morgan making bimbo type moves over top of the more down to earth and likeable Leslie. Instead the script is just preparing for melodrama to keep the conflict of the story in play. Latifah plays her likable self, pretty, charming, with just enough attitude. By the time Leslie becomes Scott’s personal get well trainer we can see miles ahead to the final conclusion which is no different than Latifah’s Last Holiday.
I did pick up on comparisons between Just Wright and For Love of the Game, comparing the two can really demonstrate the devotion to character development in ‘For Love’ and how exploring history and longevity can increase the on screen relationship. Here everything is experienced in accelerated segments, leaving these characters dead and forgotten once the credits roll. While Latifah isn’t the problem, a script like this takes on little artistic value, sacrificing basic reality for a no struggle, easy romantic, poorly structured mess of a film.
Final Thought – Only a diehard Latifah fan is likely to enjoy this.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Jennifer Gih