From the first moment you are able to hear Tyler Perry's crisp, flat narrating introducing a character we've so many times before, a flash of obvious predictions flash through your brain and its already as if you've seen the entire film before it even gets a chance to start! Once you've seen one Tyler Perry production, you've practically seen them all! Even if so, I still respect Tyler Perry for the work that he does. Through his plays, his TV shows, and his films, he tries to inspire, influence, and bring the life out the audience always through positive ripples. While these positive ripples do repeat time after time, and over and over again some more, I still always find myself purchasing a ticket to every film Perry releases.
The only thing Good Deeds does thats good justice is it doesn't include Madea. Tyler Perry always brings out the best of his acting skills whenever he's not dressing up in that wretched character that oddly enough carries a large fan base. To be quite honest, I'm never a fan of Tyler Perry when he tries to work with comedies. His comedy films always carry too much over-the-top drama that defeat the purpose of the film being a drama. So, when Tyler Perry makes a film just for the drama-effect like Good Deeds, then I have plenty reason to understand why there is so much dramatic element.
Tyler Perry doesn't do much to make this film stand-out. In fact, the advertising for this film has got to be some of the worst Tyler Perry has ever dealt with. Usually when he is on the verge of a new film releases I see a TV spot every commercial break. For Good Deeds, I can honestly say that I never even saw the trailer for the film before seeing it. As for TV spots, those are a blank as well, and believe me, I watch enough TV where I should of seen some sort of peak at this film at least once.
Its a real shame too because Good Deeds is hands down the best film that Tyler Perry has ever produced, written, and directed. Certainly, you can see from my rating that I didn't love the film but don't be fooled because I did enjoy it to a certain degree. It just wasn't perfect, but just about every Tyler Perry film carries a strong weight of flaws. Madea's Family Reunion was hands-down one of the worst films from 2011, but Perry makes up for it here with Good Deeds through a moralizing story and one breath-taking performance (not from him though!).
The film, as I already stated, starts off with a dull sense of narration from Tyler Perry where he introduces himself as Walter Deeds. Deeds is a very successful businessman living what people around him would think is the perfect life. For Deeds, he's been living a dream he's never wanted to commit to, but because his parents have forced him into a business and marriage he can't seem to walk away from, he's never had the credibility of living a day on his own free-will. That is until he meets a female janitor named Lindsey who works the night-shift at his office. Lindsey is a woman with pride, but is breaking mentally and physically each and every day due to the fact that she can't care for her and her young daughter. When she meets Walter, the two bond over their differences and change each other's viewpoints on life forever.
The message that Tyler Perry is trying to get across is pretty much to never lose hope and to never let go of who you really are. Perry could have easily gotten this message across a little bit easier, but by the end of the film you'll be sitting there knowing exactly why Tyler Perry had Good Deeds made. To be completely honest, the film would have worked a whole lot better if the film ran a little shorter. The first half of the movie is great, in fact, I found myself really enjoying myself. But, by the time the first hour came along the film dropped on all entertainment levels and kind of just soaked in unbearable, rough drama that mostly unneeded half the time. Well, it wouldn't be a Tyler Perry flick without it, would it?
Thandie Newton is the best damn thing that has ever happened to a Tyler Perry movie. Her performance as Lindsey is almost completely flawless and if not for her casting choice here in the film I am not sure Good Deeds would have turned out the way that it did. Even though Perry wasn't able to connect too well with her, she was able to connect beautifully with everyone around her. She should also be the considered the lead of the film and at least have a spot for her name on that poster. Despite Perry's work behind the film, she deserves more spotlight than him on this one one-hundred percent!
My biggest issue with this film was its choice of music. At times the music would overpower a lot of the scenes and make them feel a lot bigger than they actually were. For example, Wesley's brother in the film goes on a small rampage and instead the Shakespearean tragedy soundtrack makes it seem as if he's slitting the throats of everyone in room. To a point, it got extremely annoying and hard to handle, especially in the film's desperate second-half which tried much too hard to make people care.
In the end, I can still say this is probably Tyler Perry's best work despite a whole lot of flaws. His performance is stolid and a cold-mess at times, but at the end of the film you still like his character a little bit. With some better writing that included more interesting dialogue, and a batch of better-crafted drama enriching scenes, Good Deeds could have been something great and probably Tyler Perry's first stand-out good flick. If its raining out on a boring and rainy Sunday afternoon and nothing else is on TV, I say give it a go. Other than that, you really aren't missing much.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood