Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds

Tyler Perry’s latest, “Good Deeds,” certainly has a lot going against it.

For one, there is its extremely predictable screenplay, written by Perry, which follows the midlife crisis—no doubt a long time in coming—of privileged businessman Wesley Deeds (Perry).

The story is so slow in moving forward, the dialogue so uniformly flat, and the attention to detail so cursory and, in fact, questionable, that sitting through “Good Deeds” is going take some patience from most viewers. An oddly somber affair, this film is hardly what anyone would call a good time.

Deeds has a cute but unsatisfied fiancée (Gabrielle Union), a troubled and jealous brother (Brian White), and a domineering mother (Phylicia Rashad) to whom he cannot say no. He is pretty much stuck in a living hell until struggling janitor Lindsey Wakefield (Thandie Newton) lands in his life.

Their relationship begins when, in an act of desperation, she parks in his reserved spot in the company lot. Resolving that small dispute takes an inordinate amount of screen time here.

The more he learns about Lindsey, the more Wesley wants to help her and her adorable daughter, Ariel (Jordenn Thompson). He of course winds up getting helped himself—to true love with Lindsey and a new lease on life. There is not much more to this movie than this.

The filmmaking is consistently pedestrian: Perry has many long, long runs of shot reverse shot and then regular breaks for every conceivable establishing shot of San Francisco, the film’s setting.

Despite its many frustrating flaws, “Good Deeds” contains one impressive, truly memorable performance—by Perry as Deeds, who is basically a highly successful man suffering from deep depression.

Perry subdued can be a soulful performer, although Perry as director could have offered a lot more help to Newton in modulating her uncentered performance in concert with his.

The director also deserves credit for trying something that no one else out there is currently game for: “Good Deeds” is a black women’s picture. Who else is really trying to make movies for this most important audience?

“Good Deeds” also, in the grand tradition of classic melodrama, takes a look at class issues—in this case, maybe just a peak. Not many other mainstream filmmakers are looking at class issues in the black community, although “Good Deeds” clearly is not interested in delving too deep, in “going there.” But this may be a start.


Wesley Deeds – Tyler Perry

Lindsey Wakefield – Thandie Newton

Ariel – Jordenn Thompson

Natalie – Gabrielle Union

Walter Deeds – Brian White

Wilimena – Phylicia Rashad


A Lionsgate release.

Directed and written by Tyler Perry.

Produced by Tyler Perry, Ozzie Areu, and Paul Hall.

Cinematography, Alexander Gruszynski.

Editing, Maysie Hoy.

Original Music, Aaron Zigman.

Running time: 110 minutes.