Movie reviews: Good Deeds, fea Tyler Perry, Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton
2012 February 24 00:45:37 | 1932 Views
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Director: Tyler Perry
PG: sexual content, language, some violence and thematic material
Running time: 111 minutes
Tyler Perry's films are consistently bad and just as consistently profitable - no matter how scathing the reviews, his movies will often pull in around $50 million at the box office during their release. Because the media seem to have so little effect on whether or not Perry's work succeeds, it's tempting to simply give up, to not bother with any criticism whatsoever and, instead, attempt to comprehend the appeal.
Let's start with his latest effort, Good Deeds. Right off the bat, the first appealing thing about this movie is that we are mercifully spared from Perry's all-too-familiar Madea character, frequently incorporated into his films for no discernible reason other than, according to him, large men dressed up as elderly ladies is hilarious. Here, Madea takes a much-deserved break
Instead, Perry stars as the straightedge Wesley Deeds, CEO of his father's software company and fiance to a lovely real estate broker named Natalie (Gabrielle Union). He is also a "fifth-generation Ivy League graduate"â€” it's really not worth pointing out that, in order for this to be true, his great-great-grandfather would literally have to have been the very first African-American to attend an Ivy League school in the mid-1800s, so let's just not mention that at all.
"I seem to be on track," says Deeds in a voice-over during the opening scene, "but on whose track, I don't know." Obviously this clever play on words is another appealing element in the film. Perry might have gone further by having Wesley explain later on how he's lost track of what matters in life and his plans for marriage and kids are getting derailed. But this actor-director isn't one to go overboard
Even more likable aspects of Good Deeds: It's set in beautiful San Francisco; it features the magisterial Phylicia Rashad as Wesley's domineering mother; it promotes healthy eating through Wesley's insistence on having oatmeal and egg whites each morning for breakfast; it's set in beautiful San Francisco. Oh wait. Well, surely there's more.
If we can include the so-bad-it's-funny material as a positive, it's worth mentioning the sound editing. There's a scene in a night club, for instance, where Natalie is drinking and dancing with her friends and the music is blaring. But as soon as one of them starts to speak, it becomes as quiet as a library in a desert. Then it's cranked up again when the talking stops, and so on.
Of course, in attempting to wring out all the positive aspects of Good Deeds, it's been impossible to even mention the plot. In short, a rich man helps a cleaning lady who's down on her luck and, in turn, she helps him discover the meaning of life. Then, they hook up.
There's a lot wrong with this â€” the fact that the cleaning lady (Thandie Newton) could easily pay her bills by becoming a model; the awkwardness of a CEO flirting with a janitor in between dusting and disinfecting jobs; a few not-so-indirect similarities to Pretty Woman.
It's what many would refer to as a "feel good" movie, and indeed, it's entirely possible to walk out of Good Deeds feeling positive. Think about how that popcorn had just the right amount of salt and butter. Think about how beautiful San Francisco is.
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