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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Just Wright

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Common and Queen Latifah star in a scene from the movie "Just Wright."
The familiar elements of both romantic comedy and inspirational sports films are seamlessly blended in "Just Wright" (Fox Searchlight).

Queen Latifah plays Leslie Wright, a super-competent physical therapist and hardcore New Jersey Nets fan who has come to accept—however ruefully—her status as every guy's nonromantic homegirl.

Her younger, attractive "godsister," Morgan Alexander (Paula Patton)—who lives with Leslie and Leslie's parents, Lloyd and Janice (James Pickens Jr. and Pam Grier)—has a singular ambition: to become the wife of a professional basketball player. Morgan is hopelessly shallow, interested only in status and shopping.

When Leslie has a chance encounter with New Jersey Nets star Scott McKnight (rapper Common), he finds her confidence and sunny personality appealing, and invites her to a party at his mansion. Leslie brings the flirtatious Morgan along; Scott impulsively falls for Morgan, and almost as quickly, decides to marry her.

This could be just another bitter episode for Leslie, except that Scott gets a potentially career-ending knee injury. Morgan finds Scott's fetching blond therapist a threat, so she asks Leslie to move in and go to work in her stead.

Unwilling to endure possible hardship, Morgan eventually runs off when it looks as if the Nets won't give Scott a new contract.

Will Scott's knee recover in time for the playoffs? Will Leslie's tough love restore the whole man? Will they bond over their love of classic jazz, and will he finally see that Leslie is perfect for him? Well, the script has the Nets in the NBA finals, so those willing to surrender to all the fantasy elements will likely have a very good time indeed.

Director Sanaa Hamri and screenwriter Michael Elliot (who wrote the engaging 2002 basketball comedy "Like Mike") use the lightest of touches to create a warm, likable environment and convey a message about relationships founded on enduring values.

Probably acceptable for more mature teens, despite the elements listed below.

The film contains a single use of crude language and an implied premarital encounter. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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