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Hoop dreamers turn out to be 'Just Wright'

PLOT

Professional woman with a sense of herself proves to be the right side of the romantic triangle when she and her opportunistic BF vie for the same injured NBA star.

BOTTOM LINE

Everything about the story feels familiar, but director Sanaa Hamri gives us a sum that's much more than the parts.

CAST

Queen Latifah, Paula Patton, Common

LENGTH

1:39

The same way you know LeBron James is going to be stuffing that ball through that hoop, you know Queen Latifah will be scoring big time in "Just Wright," as a New Jersey Nets fan who finally finds some love. (Lord knows, the team's not giving her any.) A happily formulaic story is given a big assist by director Sanaa Hamri, who goes far beyond the call of duty in making "Just Wright" into something not just cinematic but surprisingly beautiful to look at.

Latifah plays the confident-but-loveless Leslie Wright, a physical therapist, and the kind of woman who's somewhat mortified by the likes of her scheming godsister, Morgan (Paula Patton, "Precious"). Morgan is a player, knows how to troll the bait and set the hook, and ends up being wooed by Nets star and Upper East Sider Scott McKnight (Common, whose b-ball is as credible as his acting).

Of course, as soon as Scott gets injured, and all but written off by his team, Morgan declares free agency. And Leslie is left to pick up the pieces - which include working Scott's knee back into playing shape in time for the NBA playoffs.

But even though the destination is never in doubt, Hamri ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2") makes the journey sparkle. If nothing else, "Just Wright" packs a satisfying plunge into romantic payoff, and a New York that looks the way it should every day.

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