Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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On the weekend that Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds opened, Perry so graciously helped a Chicago minister, who had been living on the rooftop of an old motel on the South Side of Chicago for more than 90 days. The minister seeks to buy the motel, raze it and build a community center. Perry and others helped the minister raise more than $450,000 for the first phase of this project.
In the movie, Perry also does a good deed, by helping Thandie Newton, who plays a janitor named Lindsey who has an adorable young daughter named Ariel. The two have been evicted from their home, after Lindsay has fallen on hard times. She meets Perry, who plays Wesley Deeds, the heir to a computer software conglomerate who pretty much lives life by the same script. Deeds is scheduled to marry Natalie, the perfect woman who is played by Gabrielle Union. He has the perfect mother, played by Phylicia Rashad. Gabrielle’s mother in Good Deeds is played by the iconic, groundbreaking black model Beverly Johnson.
But Deeds’ life is about to be uprooted, once he becomes involved with trying to help Lindsey and Ariel, after he discovers them sleeping in their car, and the child welfare agency takes Ariel away from Lindsay. Deeds offers them a place to stay in one of his company’s luxury apartments. He does this behind Gabrielle’s back, but soon he is discovered, and his jealous, self-destructive brother Walter, played by Brian White, is hell bent on letting everyone know that Deeds isn’t as wholesome as he would have everyone believe.
There is animosity between Wesley and Walter, because Walter feels that he should have been chosen to run the company, upon their father’s death. Walter is struggling with substance abuse issues and is basically being overseen by Wesley, at their mother’s request. Walter is really confounded by the fact that when they both first met Lindsey, she was nearly cursing them out in the company parking lot and now she and Wesley seem to be good friends.
During the course of the movie, Natalie, Wesley and Lindsey discover much about themselves that changes their outlook and shakes the core of the decisions and dreams they had previously made and envisioned. Walter also has a comeuppance moment, where he is basically given another chance to make his mother proud.
Good Deeds is a nice, predictable movie, with Newton playing a gruff, hard-working, struggling single mother, and Perry playing a nice, successful businessman who just happens to want to give back some of the riches to which he has grown accustomed.
In the end, Good Deeds will teach you that even all the money in the world can’t buy you happiness. Good Deeds is playing in theaters everywhere.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago, who also serves as a news editor for FilmMonthly.com
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