Meet nice lady, Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah); physical therapist and friend to all. Girlfriend to none. Every guy she meets tells her she’s “special” and would make the perfect wife one day. Just not on this day. She has a freakish amount of knowledge about basketball (a lonely, OCD childhood springs to mind) and is an all round good cheese. She’s kind of like an American Bridget Jones (she even has a similar Mother pressing her to find a husband) but cheerier. But that’s not say she don’t want a man, girl! So when she meets basketball superstar, Scott McKnight (Common) and helps him at the gas station, she is obviously thrilled when he invites her to his big birthday bash. Well, we all know what happens at parties.
Good looking friends – can’t take them anywhere
BUT, Leslie makes the schoolboy error of bringing her fitter, thinner, more manipulative friend, Morgan (Paula Patton) who has her sights set on becoming a girlfriend of a big league “ball player”. Perfect place for her to score. And score she does. But when Stevey-boy does himself an injury, Morgan gets Leslie on the job to help him on the road to recovery but only after she gets strong signals on her “hoe-dar” from the previous sexy therapist. And when your rubbing down a basketball player day-in, day-out for three months, feelings start to develop.
But who will he choose? Fit, flakey Morgan or good old dependable Leslie who restores him back to health? Tricky? Not in a rom com.
I’ll love you, Leslie!
The plot skirts around the developing relationship between Leslie and Steve, the will they won’t they kind of scenario. Classic. But despite the cliches and cheese, Just Wright has a kind of charm to it, mainly down to Queen Latifah. She is literally, as Morgan says (although more sarcastic then I care to be), “Saint Leslie”. She is SO nice; the kind of girl you would love as your bezzie. She likes food (as she says, she “ain’t no salad eater”), she’s not afraid to get involved in basketball games and she makes a mean cookie-and-marshmallow sandwich. Morgan doesn’t deserve her. But I do. Hey gurrrllll, over here!
And that’s what Scott McKnight should be saying in a more convincing American, hip-hoppish way. I don’t like the way he is always described as “different” and the “perfect gentleman” when all he does what most fellows would do; choose the hot-but-oh-so-wrong-for-him girl over the nice girl he has much more in common with. AND SHE’S BEEN IN FRONT OF HIS NOSE THE WHOLE TIME! Yeah, real different.
It’s nice watching the bond grow between the likeable Leslie and her man, although it does get a bit tiresome what with the standard hold-my-gaze-are-we-going-to-kiss shots. The script can be a bit syrupy sometimes, but Queen Latifah’s performance adds a bit more flavour (or should that be flava?) with her delivery, so you don’t go away craving salt. Altogether, I wouldn’t say Just Wright is perfect but it is an enjoyable rom-com, with the expected features but combined with surprising moments of subtlety. Watch it when you’re feeling sorry for yourself and want to see that good things can happen. Or when you’re hungover.