May 14, 2010 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review: 'Just Wright' -- GRADE: C-

Review: 'Just Wright' is just wrong

Queen Latifah and Common star in "Just Wright." (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

You can almost see the studio accountants counting the demographic hot spots "Just Wright" should connect with as the movie reels by.

First, there's the urban audience in search of a virtually all-black film. Then there's the basketball fans, the rap fans who like Common, the many folks who admire Queen Latifah, and the girlfriends who crave a fairytale love story in which a hard-working home girl hooks up with a dashing millionaire NBA star.

Add it all up, the accountants must have figured, and you've got dollar signs.

Unfortunately, all that addition doesn't make for a very original movie.

Latifah plays Leslie Wright, a physical therapist with a clunky old car and a clunky old house and a gold-digging, semi-evil beautiful god sister named Morgan (Paula Patton) whose only ambition in life is to marry an NBA star.

Wouldn't you know that Leslie just happens to run into superstar Scott McKnight (Common) at a gas station after a game one night, and after charming him with her earthiness he invites her to his upcoming birthday party?

Leslie brings Morgan along and she ensnares him in her web. But when Scott suffers a severe injury, Morgan dumps him and Leslie takes over his rehabilitation, and true love takes over their relationship. Until Morgan returns.

This by-the-numbers plot isn't helped by a series of pointless and clumsy cameos from real basketball stars, but it is almost overcome by the easy charisma both Common and Latifah exude.

Almost.

But then the film ends with a series of just too corny and unlikely developments, leaving their natural star power shining in a bucket of goo.

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