At the risk of repeating myself I ask you how many times can Queen Latifah get away with playing the same character? I like the lady/actress as much as the next person, but I'm getting to the fed up point. Which is too bad because she is a very likable and competent actress (she has a nomination for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar). Queen Latifah is going to be guilty of going to the well one time too many and is going to start losing the attention of her fans.
Being the type of woman that men see as their 'bud' is not what Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah – Last Holiday, Chicago) wants. This fun-lovin', New Jersey Nets number one fan gal still has not found the 'one', but she hasn't given up looking for him.
Leslie is a physical therapist who has just bought a fixer-upper house, drives a banged up Ford Mustang and has her very attractive, but shallow god sister Morgan (Paula Patton – Hitch, Precious) living with her. She goes on some dates and finds guys she likes, but they end up just wanting to be friends.
To show you how different the two women are, Morgan is a girl who has as her life's goal to marry an NBA player while Leslie just wants a championship for her beloved Nets. One night while putting some gas into her jalopy Morgan runs into the Nets all-star point guard Scott McKnight (Common – Date Night, Terminator Salvation). The two hit it off and McKnight invites Leslie to his upcoming birthday party.
Well, you can guess what comes next. Leslie, all excited about her prospects with McKnight, brings Morgan to the party and of course the NBA player only has eyes for Morgan. The two start dating and even get engaged. Everything is going smoothly until McKnight tears up his knee during the NBA All-Star game. This is bad for the veteran player as he is in the last year of his contract and now as there are doubts about him ever playing again there are rumours that the Nets, the only team he wants to play for, might not offer him a contract.
Wanting to keep a beautiful physical therapist away from her man, Morgan offers Leslie the job of being McKnight's full time physical therapist as he rehabs his injury. Seeing this as a great opportunity and a way to help Morgan, she takes a leave of absence from her job and moves in with the couple.
Soon Morgan realizes that her days in the tabloids are numbered if McKnight never plays again and panics. Leaving his engagement ring and a note on the bedside table, Morgan is gone. McKnight is devastated. Even his beloved mother (Phylicia Rashad – from television's The Cosby Show) cannot get through to him. It is up to Leslie to wake him up and help him try to get his career back. And if in the process McKnight finally wakes up to who the girl for him is then….
Romantic comedies rely mostly on the chemistry between the two leads. Unfortunately no matter how likable Queen Latifah is even her magnetism cannot carry the film because you do not believe that hers and Common's characters fall in love. Too bad. Because of this it is pretty much game over for Just Wright.
The lack of chemistry is coupled by the complete predictability of the story. You know that he is going to fall for the more attractive girl, going to realize that she is shallow, that he really loves the "fun" girl, and make a big romantic overture to her in order to win her back. Yawn!
The only reason is to watch this film is Queen Latifah. As usual she is her charming self and makes every scene she is in quite watchable. In her hands the character of Leslie seems very real. Now only if she would stretch her acting wings a bit and take a different kind of role then I could give the film she is in the good review she so richly deserves.
– The One You Can't Live Without
-Common on the Fast Break