CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton Are Just Short of ‘Just Wright’
CHICAGO – Queen Latifah and the rapper Common put an interesting and necessary twist on the romantic comedy genre, but still cannot help but fall back on the recurring rom-com clichés that eventually undermines the new film “Just Wright.”
Common is NBA superstar Scott McKnight, guiding the New Jersey Nets towards the playoffs. Queen Latifah is Leslie Wright (as in “Just…), a physical therapist and rabid Nets who just happens to “meet cute” Scott at a gas station after a game. This leads to an invitation to his birthday party – happens all the time – and Leslie brings her best friend Morgan (Paula Patton) to the celebration.
Morgan has made it her quest to marry an NBA player. She sees her opportunity in McKnight at his party and makes her move, leaving Leslie in the lurch. Scott and Morgan’s relationship blossoms, all the way to engagement, but a wrench is thrown just as the couple finalize their plans.
McKnight injures his knee in the NBA All-Star game, a seemingly season-ending blow to Nets run to the playoffs. But primarily his engagement falls apart, because Morgan suddenly doesn’t want damaged goods. The one positive element of the situation is that she hooked up Leslie to run Scott’s physical therapy before walking out on him. It is up to the sunny and positive force of Leslie’s aura to bring Scott back to the game, while at the same time developing a chemistry that leads to stronger feelings between them.
Photo Credit: David Lee for © Fox Searchlight Pictures