Believability Makes This Romance Just Wright
- Friday, May 14, 2010
And they're both genuinely real. Yes, they are to an extent the best versions of these characters, but not without flaws and certainly not idealized archetypes. Other supporting characters are more thinly drawn, expectedly, serving more as cogs in the plot machine than plausible living/breathing people, but not to the film's detriment. Again, solid perfs buoy these tangential roles, especially James Pickens Jr. (Grey's Anatomy) as Leslie's supportive father. The tenderness he shows and that they share makes me wish the film had made time for a few deeper moments between these characters.
Along with possibly misjudging this movie as strictly for a limited demographic, it'd also be unfair to define Just Wright as a romantic "comedy"—and that's to its credit. Yes, Sanaa Hamri's direction allows the film to flow easily with a light and entertaining touch, but this isn't a movie going for laughs. More earnestly, it's going for heart.
So many romances try way too hard, contorting themselves in all kinds of ridiculous ways as they strain for high comedy and cosmic romance. Just Wright is more laid back, effortlessly confident, playful, and respects our intelligence even as it asks us to suspend disbelief. The soundtrack's occasional detours into jazz add an even more alluring ease to the atmosphere, allowing musicians Latifah and Common—whose characters share a deep love for the genre—to literally make beautiful music together.
Perhaps most miraculously, this immensely satisfying PG-rated affair is focused on emotion rather than seduction, on clever wit rather than sexual sass or risqué double-entendres. Even with a couple of mild profanities and the inference of sex considered, this is as clean as modern movies get without ever feeling prudish or antiquated.
Nothing in Just Wright is distinctively exceptional or original, and it's about as safe a flick as you'll find. But it's all so beautifully rendered, and that's its appeal. You know, a movie that's named Just Wright virtually begs a movie critic to turn snarky and tell you how wrong it all is—but I can't, because it never is. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a title more perfect.
- Drugs/Alcohol Content: Champagne and wine consumed at meals; no drunkeneness.
- Language/Profanity: One use of the "a" word and "s" word each.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Some kissing. A sexy (though professional) massage therapist gives a massage. Two people lying in bed under the covers. No sexual activity depicted, but sex is inferred to have happened.
- Violence: None.
Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla. He is also cohost of "Steelehouse Podcast," along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where each week they discuss God in pop culture.
To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com or click here. You can also subscribe to "Steelehouse Podcast" through iTunes.
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