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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Sanaa Hamri
Cast:
Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, James Pickens Jr., Phylicia Rashad, Pam Grier, Laz Alonso, Mehcad Brooks, Michael Landes, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade
Writing Credits:
Michael Elliot

Tagline:
In This Game Every Shot Counts.

Synopsis:
Queen Latifah and Common deliver slam-dunk entertainment in this charming story of hoops, hope, and the game of love. Leslie Wright (Latifah) is a straight-shooting physical therapist who gets the gig of a lifetime working with injured NBA star Scott McKnight (Common). Leslie not only whips Scott into shape, she helps take his game to the next level and all is going well ... until Leslie finds herself falling for him. Oblivious to her growing affection, Scott only has eyes for Morgan (Paula Patton), Leslie's sexy and seductive friend. With everything on the line, Leslie must take her best shot and find out if she and Scott are just right for each other.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$8.284 million on 1831 screens.
Domestic Gross
$21.520 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Mandarin
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 9/14/2010

Bonus:
• “The One You Can’t Live Without” Featurette
• “Common on the Fast Break” Featurette
• “When Amazing Happens”
• Gag Reel
• Trailer
• Digital Copy
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Just Wright [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 20, 2010)

In a major blow for racial equality, 2010’s Just Wright shows that sappy chick flicks aren’t just for white girls. Big New Jersey Nets fan Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) randomly encounters NBA star Scott McKnight (Common) and snags an invitation to his big birthday party.

Her gold-digging friend Morgan Alexander (Paula Patton) wants nothing in life other than to marry a wealthy basketball player, so this turns into her potential payday. Leslie tells Morgan that Scott isn’t the usual skeez-bagging pro, so she changes her game; she pretends to be a volunteer at a homeless shelter to pique his interest.

This works, though Morgan’s beauty sure doesn’t hurt. Scott starts to date her, and the pair become engaged after a short courtship period.

In the midst of personal and professional happiness, a problem befalls Scott: he hurts his knee during the NBA All-Star Game. If he wants to renew his career and make it back for the playoffs, Scott has to go through aggressive physical therapy. His first therapist is supposed to be the best, but she’s also super-sexy, so Morgan frowns on her presence.

To keep her man faithful, Morgan gets Leslie involved. However, the wannabe trophy wife doesn’t stick around very long. While Leslie and Scott work on his knee, pundits opine that the Nets won’t resign him, and his NBA career might be finished. Rather than be the wife of a faded – though still wealthy – star, Morgan breaks up with Scott.

Leslie doesn’t give up on him, though. While Scott prefers to mope around the house, she forces him to come out of his shell and get back to work. Is it possible that love will bloom?

What do you think? Given the path of the Leslie/Scott relationship, Wright might qualify more as a fantasy than as a romantic comedy. (The notion of the woeful Nets – owners of a 12-70 record during the 2009-2010 season – as a playoff team might be even less believable.) Is it possible that if you examined the wives/girlfriends of all 300-plus NBA players, you might find one as average-looking as Latifah? Yeah, it’s possible, but the vast majority – if not all of them – will much more closely resemble Patton.

There’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy to give the average girls a dream, however, especially since Scott doesn’t come across like the typical pro athlete. He’s awfully thoughtful and well-rounded – just the kind of guy who’d look beneath the surface and love a girl for her personality, of course! His only flaws exist for plot purposes. We know 10,000 percent that he’ll end up with Leslie, but the film inserts chinks in his armor to provide dramatic tension. We never truly believe that Scott will pick a superficial hoochie like Morgan – even one as hot as Patton – so his negative traits are there solely to create melodrama.

It doesn’t work very well, mostly because the results are so darned dull. Since the story itself seems so predictable, we’re reliant on the characters and actors to carry the day. Wright may be the first rom-com pairing of rappers in movie history, but that little historical curiosity doesn’t make the flick more entertaining.

Latifah has talent and boasts personal charm, but she brings her “D”-game to Leslie. She plays the part as a typical down to earth girl without much vivacity. Her natural charisma adds a bit of spark, but she doesn’t feel particularly invested in the part, and that distance results in little emotional connection for the viewer.

She fares better than Common, though. He was actually pretty good in a small role as a rotten cop in Date Night, but in a role as a more three-dimensional person, he totally flops. He displays virtually no range and seems utterly wooden. He looks the part, and he pulls off the basketball stuff just fine, but when he has to portray an actual human being, he fails to present even the slightest personality.

At its heart, Just Wright isn’t a genuinely bad movie; it lacks the ambition to be anything more than relentlessly mediocre. And thoroughly dull it is. Though the movie never turns off the viewer, it doesn’t engage, either.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio C+/ Bonus D+

Just Wright appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I found no problems with this excellent presentation.

To fit with all the African-American complexions, the flick went with a warm palette. It favored a fairly amber tint that worked within the theme and context. Brighter hues looked good, and overall color balance appeared positive. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity.

Sharpness excelled. All shots – wide, close and in-between – provided solid clarity and definition. If any softness emerged, I didn’t see it. Jaggies and shimmering were absent, and edge haloes weren’t a factor. No signs of source flaws emerged, and I didn’t sense any digital noise reduction; the film featured good natural grain. Across the board, this was a pleasing transfer.

Romantic comedies don’t usually boast dynamic audio, so don’t expect much from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Just Wright. The soundfield remained pretty limited through most of the film. Music showed nice stereo presence, and a few scenes – usually those on the basketball court – opened up the environment in a reasonably satisfying manner. Nothing memorable occurred, though; the flick could’ve been monaural and I’m not sure I would’ve noticed a substantial difference.

Audio quality was solid, however. Speech always came across as natural and distinctive, with no signs of edginess or reediness. Music sounded lush and warm, while effects – as minor as they were – appeared accurate enough. At no point did this threaten to become a dynamic soundscape, it seemed acceptable for a film of this sort.

A few featurettes fill out the set. The One You Can’t Live Without goes for six minutes, 56 seconds and includes notes from actor/producer Queen Latifah, writer Michael Elliott, producers Debra Martin Chase and Shakim Compere, co-producer Gaylyn Fraiche, NBA player Elton Brand, director Sanaa Hamri, production designer Nicholas Lundy, and actors Paula Patton and Common. The piece covers the project’s development, story and characters, working with the NBA, and production design.

“Live” is a scattershot featurette that occasionally throws out good tidbits, but it doesn’t stick with useful topics for long. It alternates between good material and promotional fluff. We do learn some nice tidbits but don’t expect much depth.

Common on the Fast Break goes for five minutes, four seconds, and features Common, Latifah, Hamri, Patton, basketball stunt coordinator Mark Ellis and player Dwyane Wade. The show looks at Common’s basketball skills and how he approached his role. A few minor notes about his training and background emerge, but this is mostly fluff.

Finally, When Amazing Happens fills six minutes, 41 seconds and includes statements from Compere, Brand, Ellis, Common, Wade, Hamri, ESPN’s Stuart Scott, co-producer Jarrod Moses and players Mehcad Brooks and Rashard Lewis. This one acts as a companion to “Fast Break”, as it shows us aspects related to the film’s basketball action. Like its predecessor, it has some decent moments, but it doesn’t tell us much.

We also get a Gag Reel. In this two-minute, 39-second clip, we get a lot of mistakes and laughs. Laughs on the part of the actors, that is; the material fails to amuse me. This is standard blooper nonsense.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Our Family Wedding, Date Night and Why Did I Get Married Too. In addition, the Blu-ray provides the movie’s theatrical trailer.

A second disc throws in a Digital Copy of Just Wright. As expected, this allows you to plop the flick on a viewing gadget or computer. That’s that!

Despite a mildly intriguing presence – and an atypical ending for its genre - Just Wright doesn’t do anything to elevate the romantic comedy genre. It does come with a nice message, but it’s awfully dull and lifeless most of the time. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, average audio, and a few minor supplements. This never becomes a terrible film, but it does seem terribly forgettable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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