Starring Queen Latifah, Common and Paula Patton. Directed by Sanaa Hamri. 101 minutes.
You know what this film is about. I’m tell you right now. Take a look at the cover: two smiling lovebirds, arm in arm, clearly entranced by one another. Trust yourself. There are no surprises here.
We always think we know what to expect from rom-coms and most of the time, we do. Rare times, a film turns out to be something so surprisingly fresh and unexpected, but sweet all the same. This is not one of those times.
Just Wright is exactly what you think it’s about. It follows the typical rom-com arc: love, conflict, resolution. It feels so pointless to explain, so I won’t. Well, nothing more than man + woman + basketball = love.
Sometimes, rom-coms are so cheesy that it’s fun to guess the next line out loud or narrate a character’s thoughts in an overly-dramatic moment of silence, but what happens when a film actually seems like it’s trying hard to be novel yet is swirling in an abyss of cliché? You kind of feel bad for laughing. But you do it anyway.
A couple messages to the actors trying oh-so-mightily to charm in this film. Queen Latifah, you are better than this. When was the last time you watched yourself in Chicago? Or more recently, even Hairspray? You are not meant to be a rom-com pawn. And Common, neither are you. You’re hardcore villain. Seriously. That line in Date Night: “Get up. Now.” You could build an entire career out of badass lines like that. It’s tough to take anything you say in this film gently when you should be pointing a gun is someone’s face fixed with that mean stare of yours.
There also doesn’t seem to be a lot of chemistry between Queen Latifah and Common. Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is very lecturing and Scott McKnight (Common) is too stubborn. It comes across more as a mother-son relationship and these are not the things mothers and sons should be doing together. It’s not like they couldn’t have made an awesome duo but that would have to have been another film, with guns and fight scenes and a plot revolving around stolen money.
There’s not much else to say about a film that you’ve already seem without seeing, other than don’t waste your time. D+
EXTRAS: Featurettes, gag reel