I'm confused… I read all of these reviews about "Just Wright" being just okay and Common being terrible and the chemistry being off… I didn't see that. I bought Common as an NBA player much more than I bought Adam Sandler as an NFL quarterback. I thought their chemistry was fine. Especially during the scene at The Rucker and at the jazz club. It worked for me. Of course, I went in expecting a cute, basic romantic comedy with sports elements. That's what I got.
I would've liked to see a few more things fleshed out. That might be the writer in me. I wanted to understand what was up with Paula Patton's character… you don't get that shallow and clueless overnight. What was up with Pam Grier's character that she wasn't repping hard for her own daughter? Where were the rest of Common's character's friends? Every baller I ever met has at least one homeboy from back in the day that dishes it to them straight, where was that guy?
No it was not ground-breaking originality nor were there mesmerizing performances. But Common held his own, Queen La did her thing and the supporting (with the exception of Patton) was strong and well-cast. By now you all have heard the plotline – Leslie Wright, a physical therapist and basketball fan, runs into Scott Wright – an all-star player for the New Jersey Nets at a gas station. They strike up a conversation and he invites her to his birthday party. She attends and brings her god-sister/play cousin Morgan Alexander. Morgan immediately runs game on Scott and he falls for it. They become a couple while Leslie looks in, used to being cast in the role as the "gal-pal" forever consigned to the Friend Zone.
Mehcad Brooks (as the teammate), Phylicia Rashad (as Scott's Mom), Pam Grier (as Leslie's Mom) and James Pickens Jr (as Leslie's Dad) are completely underutilized but still add the right touch to their roles. James Pickens Jr (of Grey's Anatomy fame) does a particularly touching job as Leslie's dad, advocate and hapless handyman.
Scott gets hurt during the All-Star game, Leslie steps in to rehab him and Morgan flees not wanting to get stuck with a "B" player. With Morgan's bubble fake persona out of the way, Leslie and Scott develop a friendship and eventually take it to the next level. From there it's all redemption and choices. Will Scott ever play again, will he get a new contract, will he choose Leslie or Morgan, and is there a happily ever after in there?
The movie is worth a look even if you do nothing else but support African American artists, directors and theatre. For me, I liked it. I thought it was cute and it left me with the same "Aww" feeling that I expect from rom-coms. I gave it 3.5 purple sandals out of 5.