Well, here’s the thing. I am a romantic at heart. I read romance. I write romance. I dream romance. Some days it seems like I breathe romance. And yet I find myself somewhere on the scale that runs from Impatience to Nausea when it comes to watching romance on TV, in the movies. On the surface, I’m not sure why this is, but it possibly has to do with the fact that I have, myself, been witness to some of the best, most romantic moments that storytelling has to offer, that subtle alchemy that is personal chemistry and charisma meeting the perfectly imperfect moment where the barrier that we hold up around us thins in just the right way for us to fall in love with someone whom we had not, heretofore, imagined. Whether that happens instantly, gradually, or sometime in between is moot. But it is true that there is a way to make it believable on screen. I know there is.
Many things may be off about your story, but the one thing that absolutely must be on, the one thing that is a prerequisite even if all else fails, your actors must have actual chemistry with one another. Big names are great, and they may in fact sell you movie tickets and make your profits, and I totally get that the movie industry is just that – an industry – but let’s try to make the best movies we can, eh?
So let’s talk about this particular movie. In Just Wright the lead romantic characters of Scott McKnight and Leslie Wright are played by the musician-actors Common and Queen Latifah. They are both beautiful people and they seem to get along just fine. Common is a good actor as is Queen Latifah, and on a personal note – as a woman who does not fit into a size 12, to say nothing of a size 4 or 6 – I am particularly pleased to see the the pretty and charming plus-sized woman get the totally hunky and muscular guy. You go, girl. This needs to happen more often in Hollywood, thank you very much. The problem? The one tiny little problem in this scenario? There is no, let me be clear: no chemistry between the two of them. ::sigh::
The review continues, but there are spoilers beyond this point…
But let’s move on, because there were a few other things that were annoying about this film.
First was the female lead’s propensity toward Fangirlling the male lead which felt wrong in some moments and downright embarrassing in others. Maybe this is just me. I’m willing to own it, if it is. I get that this plays into the fantasy of every single one of us getting our rockstar-movie star-athletic star hero as our own personal arm candy, and yes, I have this fantasy, too (see Mr. Robert Pattinson – I’m predictable, but whatever). And I admit that the fangirlling could have been even worse. As it was, it was tempered by the character’s otherwise common sensical, no nonsensical take on life. It was still annoying.
Second on the annoying front was shallowness of the male lead’s character. This movie was billed as a ‘Cinderella Story’, but I’ve got news for you: in the Cinderella tale, regardless of whether you’re listening to the sanitized Disney version or the grimier, older versions, one thing is clear; Prince Charming falls head over bloody heels for Cinderella and his eyes remain on the prize. He turns over the entirety of his father’s kingdom to find her and he is not dissuaded. In this particular telling, Prince Charming is apparently a shallow idiot. (Arguably, the original Prince Charming is one also, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.) His shallow idiocy becomes apparent when a) his attention is diverted from our Cinderella by the classical beauty of her ‘step-sister’ (in this story there’s only one, and she’s actually a cousin who is the female lead’s god-sister), b) he lacks vision enough to choose the conniving gold-digger over the real deal, c) he takes the gold-digger back after she dumps him when he was at his lowest moment, and after he’d already hooked up with Cinderella. Asshole. He should have listened to his mother.
Third on the annoying front was the god-sister’s use of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, which just made me sigh. Talk about the misuse of something beautiful, why don’t you.
Having said all of that, what did I like about this movie? Well, I loved that there was a woman who looks an awful lot like me playing the chick that gets the gorgeous guy. I’m pretty, I’m charming, I can dress nicely in clothes that fit me well, I’m witty and sexy, but my ass is also a size 22. So it goes. I also liked the fact that the beautiful boy was a sports star. Personally, I don’t get basketball as a spectator sport, but I recognize that that’s just me. My personal preference goes: Rugby, Ice Hockey, Soccer, Baseball, Football… and somewhere behind curling, bobsledding, and watching the grass grow (also known as Cricket) comes Basketball. Having said that, I’ve been on something of a Hockey kick just lately and it wasn’t hard for me to juxtaposition, oh, say Ryan Miller, or Sidney Crosby’s face and persona over that of Scott McKnight. This was, in fact, part of the reason I went to go see the movie.
Final review: Meh. If you love one of the actors, you’re a plus-sized gal, or NBA basketball is seriously your thing, you’ll definitely want to see this movie. Otherwise, missing it won’t harm your chances at enlightenment.