PG, 100 Minutes. Starring Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, James Pickens Jr, Phylicia Rashad, Pam Grier, Laz Alonso, Mehcad Brooks, Michael Landes, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Rashard Lewis. Director: Sanaa Hamri
Two Hip-Hop legends act 'Wright'.
Queen Latifah and Common have made a name for themselves in music and movies over the years. Latifah became one of the first female rap superstars with albums like 'All Hail The Queen' in the 80's and she's been acting for decades. Common has cemented his reputation as one of the best socially conscious rappers around today with albums like 'Be' and 'Finding Forever'. He has also forged himself a decent film career over the last couple of years with credits including 'American Gangster', 'Terminator Salvation' and much more. After years of hard work in both fields the Queen and the man with Common Sense take the lead in a romantic comedy that is 'Forget Paris' meets 'Love & Basketball'.
Back when Common was younger he used to be the kid that mopped up sweat at Chicago Bulls games well in 'Just Wright' Common gets even closer to the stars, living (at least while filming) every rappers dream of becoming an NBA player. Common even holds his own as Scott McKnight even if it does look like he had a little 'assist' on those dunks. This really does seem like a dream world however as the New Jersey Nets in this movie are a contender. Someone should call owner Jay-Z because truthfully he'd like a baller like Common Sense.
So McKnight is the talk of New York, New Jersey and the NBA. Every player wants to play like him and every woman wants to play with him including Latifah's physical therapist Deborah Wright and her cousin played by Mrs. Robin Thicke, Paula Patton (who really looks and sounds like she could be related to Alicia Keys). After a game Latifah and Common hit it off in a petrol station, but after a party it's Patton who makes her mark on the ballplayer and they start a relationship. Months later McKnight goes down with a potentially career ending knee injury and some of the love for this All-Star becomes all-sour and turns to doubt. After Patton has her worries and concerns (especially concerning McKnights 'amazing' new personal trainer, where she doesn't want amazing to happen) she asks for her cousins to step in and from there it seems that Wright was just what the doctor ordered.
This film is as sharp as these rappers skills on the microphone. The movie catches New York in summer as perfectly as 'Hitch' did further making this film a feel good affair of sorts. It looks as cool as a behind the back pass and the supporting cast are a slam dunk. From 'Greys Anatomy' favourite James Pickens Jr to Phylicia Rashad aka Clair Huxtable (you've gotta love that 'Cosby Show' nostalgia) to Pam Grier (It looks like it's been a long time since 'Foxy Brown'). There are even great cameo appearances from a host of NBA players including the made for camera Dwight Howard and Miami Heat leading man Dwyane Wade. The stars of the NBA prove they can read lines as good as they can read plays and they also help ensure the basketball action is as authentic as it's ever been on screen (even if most of the other players are extras with questionable names like 'Taller'). Lil Bow Wows performance in 'Like Mike' has to bow down to the exceptional performance of fellow MC Common who shows he can read screens as good as he can read lines and write rhymes. Let's not forget the star of this show Queen Latifah however who further expands her impressive filmography further than her discography. Overall this film is feel good, funny, exciting, romantic and a winner complete with a soundtrack that hits the high score. 'Just Wright' lives up to it's name it goes down like the third bowl of porridge. A hot movie that makes a steal off a Friday night. TIM DAVID HARVEY