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JUST WRIGHT - DVD Movie
If you've ever doubted that Queen Latifah is a movie star, watch Just Wright. It's not that Just Wright is a great movie--it isn't. It's a perfectly capable romantic comedy with some lovely touches and some typical clichés. The plot--physical therapist Leslie Wright Latifah becomes the personal therapist to basketball star Scott McKnight rapper Common after a devastating injury, and gradually, love blossoms--isn't really the point. What makes the movie work are little moments of pain and pleasure, such as the flicker of betrayal when Leslie watches her mother give a pair of heirloom earrings to Leslie's prettier childhood pal, Morgan Paula Patton, Precious, or the hesitation, followed by a leap, when Leslie and Scott have their first kiss. Director Sanaa Hamri, who also made the unjustly ignored interracial romance Something New, has an excellent eye for the details of how people interact; she never forgets that people rarely know what they're going to do until they actually do it, so her movies are in a constant state of discovery. She draws a new vulnerability out of Queen Latifah, who usually coasts on a sassy, breezy confidence. Just Wright is about a woman who's quietly endured a thousand indignities and tries not to let her unhappiness show--which is what makes it so engaging. This sort of performance doesn't win awards, but it makes this sort of movie an unexpected pleasure. --Bret Fetzer