Monday, March 21, 2011

Just Not Right

Just Wright is a movie starring Queen Latifah (I love it when a woman gets top billing!) and Common and features Mrs. Huxtable and Foxy Brown, not the rapper, but the female version of Shaft.

Here's a quick plot summary that you can figure out from the commercials so I don't think this is much of a spoiler alert. If you are bad at figuring out plots of simple movies that follow a basic romantic comedy formula, then I suppose this is a spoiler, but you should also look into watching more movies.

Leslie Wright is a physical therapist who cannot find love because she's too much of a "homegirl" (that's the word in the movie; I know I sound like an ass using the word "homegirl" which is why I put it in quotes). Her cousin Morgan, who is beautiful and wants to score a professional athlete as a husband, lives with her. When Leslie bumps into professional basketball player Scott McKnight, she gets invited to his birthday, where he and her cousin meet up and eventually fall in love and get engaged. BUT THEN Scott gets hurt, and who's there to make his knee all better? Leslie Wright! And who leaves him in his time of need? Morgan. And then? I'm sure you know. And if you don't, again, you need to watch more movies.

Here's the problem. No matter which way they spin it, Leslie Wright is still second choice. No matter how poorly the pretty girl treats the muscleman, no matter how genuine the friendship between the athlete and the "homegirl" becomes, no matter how wrong he realizes he's been, Leslie Wright is still second choice, which proves that "homegirls" finish last. I may be mixing metaphors but you know what I mean.

Just like Shallow Hal, this movie aims at proving that "u cant judge a book by it's cover" and "everything glittery aint gold" and "beauty is on the inside of the skin" (I'm stealing these gems from some recent papers I graded for which I specifically instruct Do not use cliches). In attempting to teach people to be the bigger person and to look past the exterior into the person's character and spirit, they teach that it's still okay to go for the pretty first and that the ugly will still be waiting there for you because the ugly don't move on.

(No, no, no, Leslie Wright. Do not let him charm you with the "brushing the chin" move. Slowly back away from the man in the million dollar suit).

Queen Latifah is not ugly. She's pretty, and she could kick my ass, which is why I'm clarifying. I'm using ugly as part of the general point of the lesson, not as an adjective to describe Queen Latifah.

Sidenote: During a recent semester, Queen Latifah came up during class discussion, and I don't know why exactly but it's not surprising because in a comp class, we talk about everything, and the students got into a rather long debate about whether or not Queen Latifah is a lesbian who is dating her personal trainer. Not that this conversation has anything to do with that debate other than it being about Queen Latifah, but it's my only Queen Latifah callback, so there you have it.

Plus, what's so great about Common? Queen Latifah is as tall if not taller than he is and he was supposed to be this amazing basketball player. Nice arms? Yes. But a basketball player? Who women fawn over? I suppose put a uniform and spray some fake sweat on a guy and he becomes the superstar.

Oh, and at his birthday celebration, there were basketball helium balloons as decorations. Really. Because he's 12.

Maybe I'm nitpicking. That doesn't dismiss the idea that the less than beautiful women become second place citizens. Leslie Wright should not have slept with Scott McNotKnight. She should have done her job, gotten the sweet NBA job, and married a different basketball player who chooses her FIRST while Scott McKnight should have wound up alone and maybe blown out his knee three seasons later. That's my idea of a happy ending. And that's why I don't write romantic comedies.

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