If you've ever doubted that Queen Latifah is a movie star, watch Just Wright
. It's not that Just Wright
is a great movie--it isn't. It's a perfectly capable romantic comedy with some lovely touches and some typical clichés. The plot--physical therapist Leslie Wright (Latifah) becomes the personal therapist to basketball star Scott McKnight (rapper Common) after a devastating injury, and gradually, love blossoms--isn't really the point. What makes the movie work are little moments of pain and pleasure, such as the flicker of betrayal when Leslie watches her mother give a pair of heirloom earrings to Leslie's prettier childhood pal, Morgan (Paula Patton, Precious
), or the hesitation, followed by a leap, when Leslie and Scott have their first kiss. Director Sanaa Hamri, who also made the unjustly ignored interracial romance Something New
, has an excellent eye for the details of how people interact; she never forgets that people rarely know what they're going to do until they actually do it, so her movies are in a constant state of discovery. She draws a new vulnerability out of Queen Latifah, who usually coasts on a sassy, breezy confidence. Just Wright
is about a woman who's quietly endured a thousand indignities and tries not to let her unhappiness show--which is what makes it so engaging. This sort of performance doesn't win awards, but it makes this sort of movie an unexpected pleasure. --Bret Fetzer
Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is a straight-shooting physical therapist who gets the gig of a lifetime working with NBA All-Star Scott McKnight (Common). Love blossoms between the two but Leslie's childhood friend Morgan, who has her sights set on being an NBA trophy wife, begins to win the affections of McKnight raising the question - is Leslie destined to play the role of "best friend" forever or will Scott finally see that what he always wanted is right in front of him?