More than always being the bridesmaid and never the bride, I think women really hate always being the homegirl and never his girl. Oh sure, he thinks you're funny, he can talk to you about anything, he loves hanging out with you. He thinks you're maaaad cool! May even find you attractive (just not his type). Every so often he'll even hit you with, "Man! You're so funny, easy to talk to and mad cool! Why you still single?" It's the *side eye* glare seen 'round the world and the story of Leslie Wright's life.
Last night, I caught a special screening of the new Queen Latifah and Common romantic comedy, JUST WRIGHT. It was supposed to be a screening for women only, but I saw a few guys sneak in with their ladies. I felt kinda bad because I told all my guy friends this was ladies only and they couldn't come. Oh well. I'm glad some men and their ladies didn't follow directions because it's not just a "chick flick;" the fellas will get something out of this film, too.
Now, if you've seen the promo posters for JUST WRIGHT with Queen Latifah and Common smiling, looking all boo'd up in some one-on-one contact, then you have a pretty good idea what this movie is about and nothing I'll say here should be a spoiler if you have not already seen the film. But, I'll be nice and just share some general whats and not hows about JUST WRIGHT.
Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) has it going on--fly style, fulfilling job as a physical therapist, a home she owns, loving friends and family, great personality (the quintessential "mad cool chick")--but, she has no man. She always finds herself in The Friend Zone with men. This Jersey girl is a die hard Nets fan and a chance meeting with the Nets' All-Star player Scott McKnight (Common) piques her curiosity about the possibility of finally finding love. That is until...
...Leslie's God sister and less voluptuous, model-type gorgeous childhood friend, Morgan (Paula Patton), steps on the scene and captivates Scott's attention. Morgan doesn't have much of anything going for herself aside from her looks. Her dream (complete with an inspirational vision board-whoa!) is to be an NBA trophy wife. All her life people have taken care of her and she knows exactly how to work what she's got to get what she wants. What Morgan wants is...
Scott McKnight, star ball player and one of the league's most charming eligible bachelors. Like Leslie, Scott grew up a die hard Nets fan and now he's living his childhood dream of playing for them. Scott has his dream life and the only thing missing is his dream girl. Just Wright begs the question, "Is Leslie destined to play the role of "best friend" (in more ways than one) forever or will Scott finally see that what he always wanted is right in front of him?"
To be honest, I walked in to this screening somewhat--okay, VERY--biased because in my world, the only thing better than seeing Common is seeing Common glistening with sweat dripping all over his booooody. With him portraying a basketball player I saw a whole lotta that--SCORE! But, beyond the superficial I really appreciated seeing a box office level, quality romantic comedy with African Americans in all the leading and supporting roles (JUST WRIGHT also features icons Pam Grier and Phylicia Rashad as the mothers of Leslie and Scott). I'm sure with some tweaking Queen Latifah's character could have been played by Drew Barrymore (and I LOVE Drew), but I'm glad she wasn't. At the end of the day, it sends a much more powerful message to the world when positive interactions and relationships between black men and black women are shown on the big screen.
It was also refreshing that Common's character, Scott, wasn't portrayed as a sex-crazed womanizer. We all know the stereotypes of NBA players and celebrity types. Kudos to the filmmakers for wanting to tell a different story, or one that we're rarely reminded of. Scott is ambitious, confident, funny, charismatic, vulnerable--he's packed with so many endearing qualities that it was easy to make a theater full of women squeal and swoon at the screen. (There were some moments where we smacked our lips and maybe cussed a little at the screen, too, because he did act like a "typical" man.) I don't think Common had to step too far outside himself to act in this role (there were some instances where I desired more from his dialogue delivery), but that added more believability to the role and it worked.
Although JUST WRIGHT is billed as a romantic comedy, the theme that left the greatest impression on me is actually the message of sisterhood, which is interesting because the movie is written by a man (Michael Elliot). My girlfriends and I have a motto, "Embracing the lifestyle of sisterhood," and Queen Latifah's character really demonstrates what it means to live that lifestyle and intentionally choose to consider your sister's feelings, secrets and trust, even when it's hard to do.
To my ladies: Honestly, what would you do if your best friend started dating a man you have an interest in and to top it all off you met him first? And, you know your girl really isn't out for love, she just wants money, status and security? The dynamic between Leslie and Morgan also got us talking at the screen and in the rows. I loved it! I can't wait until all my girlfriends see JUST WRIGHT so we can really talk about it.
Shout out to my movie buddies R.M., M.C. and N.H., who squealed with me and share my same compulsion for reading the credits. Totally random, but R.M. pointed out the music was by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman--that's thee Lisa and Wendy from Prince and the Revolution! How cool is it that they're still doing music as a team. Yay, there is life after Prince. JUST WRIGHT is also directed by Sanaa Hamri, the same director of Common's "Come Close" video, which is the same song Common sang on stage to me at the House of Blues back in 2005 where I got to touch the glistening sweat dripping all over his booooody. Small world!
I hear there's a Part 2 already scheduled: JUST WRITE! Scott McKnight (Common) hires a sexy entertainment journalist, Andrea (Sandria Washington, seen in the hit stage play "Ms. Independent"), as his publicist and the line between business and pleasure becomes hazy. Will Andrea risk her opportunity at PR stardom for a chance at love or will she do the 'write' thing?
Gimme my Oscar!