Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds Film Review
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
By Wilson Morales
In his first leading role without his trademark Madea persona, Tyler Perry tackles the romantic drama genre and puts in a brave performance in ‘Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds.’ Instead of giving the audience the usual paint-by-numbers, boy-meet-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl storyline, Perry presents a different, yet emotional and plausible spin of two opposites attracted to each other. Although the script is flawed and filled with melodramatic moments that will warrant laughter, Perry’s loyal fan base will be engaged by this “Pretty Woman” meets “The Pursuit of Happyness” mash and leave theaters entertained.
Set in San Francisco, Perry plays Wesley Deeds, CEO of Deeds Inc., a computer software firm who’s engaged to the beautiful Natalie (Gabrielle Union), a successful realtor.
While he has a wedding to plan, he’s also dealing with his wayward brother Walter (Brian White), who has a knack of getting into trouble very often, much to the chagrin of their authoritarian mother Wilimena (Phylicia Rashad). It was because of Walter’s problems that Wesley had to alter his life to take over the family business that was left by their deceased father. Having to drive Walter to work because his driver’s license was suspended, they run into a woman (Thandie Newton) who’s parked in Wesley’s spot at their building. While Walter rudely yells at her to move, Lindsey equally responds back at both brothers when the toll truck shows up to remove her vehicle with her six-year old daughter Ariel inside.
It turns out that Lindsey works at the building as a late shift janitor and is coming in early to get an advance on her pay because she’s late on her rent. Adding more stress to the day, child services is on her back because she’s also been late in dropping off and picking up Ariel from school.
After being evicted from her home and spending nights in her car, Lindsey starts working more hours with Ariel sleeping in the supply room when Wesley spots her. She initially mistakes him for one of the employees and wonders if he will report her to “the man” until he tells her his last name. Softening the attitude a bit, the two share a meal and tell each other background stories. Her plight was the result of her husband dying in Iraq, which left her alone to care for her child and abandon her plans to be a nurse.
Meanwhile, Natalie starts to wonder about Wesley when she can no longer predict his every move. He even starts changing his daily routine like listening to Tupac music before going to work. Little does she know that Wesley’s good deeds include setting up Natalie with some living arrangements and making her life comfortable? Will Wesley’s sudden new habits threaten his future with Natalie?
What works in the film are the performances from Newton and Perry, who show a good deal of chemistry on-screen. Known more as a successful entrepreneur who wears many hats, Tyler Perry is looking to strengthen one area and that’s his presence as an actor. With his upcoming role as ‘Alex Cross’ in the titled film, ‘Deeds’ will be a test to see if he can bring in an audience without donning the Madea costume and here he gives in a compelling and solid showing. As for Newton, she’s just amazing. Having starred with Will Smith in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness,’ playing someone who’s homeless with a child wasn’t so much a stretch. She brought realism to the character. This is a nice look for Union as her character is more dimensional than one might think. While White is given a one-note role and makes the most of it, it’s good to see Rashad, who was riveting in Perry’s ‘For Colored Girls,’ in a different light. She’s not the mother from hell, but one would hate to disappoint her.
In the end, love is a complicated emotion and ultimately fate determines what’s best for everyone.