Just Wright (2010)

Rated PG

Starring: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton and Phylicia Rashad

Rated: PG Comedy/Romance/Sport

This film centers upon Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah), a physical therapist.  She and her god-sister, Morgan (Paula Patton), live together.  While both ladies are single, the more glamourous and shallow Morgan is constantly dating in order to become a trophy wife.  Leslie, who is more down-to-earth, is all too often seen by men as the cool friend who happens to be a girl.  Leslie’s parents, Lloyd (James Pickens, Jr.) and Janice (Pam Grier), are very supportive of both Leslie and Morgan; Janice especially hopes love happens for her daughter.

A devoted sports fan, especially of basketball, Leslie frequents the home games of the New Jersey Nets.  After assisting the Nets star, Scott McKnight (Common), with a car issue, he invites her to his birthday party.  Morgan, who sees this as an opportunity to snag a professional athlete, begs to attend, to which Leslie acquiesces.  Scott and Morgan soon become a couple but an injury in an All-Star Game leaves him unable to play.

Needing rehabilitation, Leslie is soon brought in by Morgan to assist in his recovery.  However, when talk of Scott’s career possibly being over makes national coverage, he is left wondering who, especially from a personal vantage, really has his best interest at heart.  Of course, his mother, Ella McKnight (Phylicia Rashad) is his strongest advocate.  However, will Morgan continue to be supportive and love him if he is not a professional player … or will Leslie be “just right” for Scott?

Just Wright received mixed reviews but became a classic Black romance picture almost from the start.  While its ratings waiver at some film sites, including at 6 of 10 at IMBD, it earned a 3 of 4 from esteemed film critic, Roger Ebert.  In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert championed the believability of Queen Latifah and Common, declaring, “One reason people like Queen Latifah is that she likes herself.  In most of her roles, she radiates cheer … she has a natural sunniness that makes me, at least, feel good … he (Common) plays well with Queen Latifah.”

Ebert also praised the plot pacing of screenwriter Michael Elliot and director Sanaa Hamri.  He wrote, “She (Hamri) and writer Michael Elliott add enough detail and actual dialogue (you know, people talking about things in more than one syllable) so that we enjoy the growing closer process ….  Sure, the movie is a formula.  A formula that works reminds us of why it became a formula.”

Just Wright was nominated for eleven 2011 awards.  Five of these nominations were for the Black Reel Awards, including Queen Latifah for “Best Actress”; Sanaa Hamri for “Best Director” Michael Elliot for “Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted” and Jazmine Sullivan (Writer) and Queen Latifah (Writer and Performer) with “Champion” for “Best Song”.   The film also received four nominations for the NAACP Image Awards, including Queen Latifah for “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” and Common for “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture”. 

For Just Wright, Michael Elliot won an Image Award for “Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television).