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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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