“Good Deeds” will make you laugh, but you’ll be laughing at it rather than with it as this movie plays out. It may also make you cry, but they will be tears of frustration at a story so predictable that it makes the “See Spot Run” books seem complex by comparison.
Director Tyler Perry is not doing audiences a good deed by releasing his latest film in general release.
In the opening minutes we are introduced to Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) and his perfect life. He has a hip apartment, a beautiful fiancée (Gabrielle Union) and is the CEO of a major software company. Trouble is he isn’t sure if he is living his own life or the life he was raised to have. He’s a child of privilege, unlike Lindsey Wakefield (Thandie Newton), a single mom on the verge of eviction and possibly losing her little girl to Child Welfare Services. A chance meeting between the two — she works as a night janitor at the company he runs — leads him to slowly begin unbuttoning his buttoned-down life. It also leads this young woman to see her life in new terms, beyond living out of her car.
The script is filled with the kind of banal chatter people engage in every day. In fact, a drinking game could be built around the amount of times Wesley says, “Are you serious?”
What banal here is ridiculous. Check out this exchange: “How much is a gallon of milk?” asks Wesley. “I don’t know…you’re lactose intolerant.” Don’t expect Noel Coward from this mess.
The story claims to examine the gap between rich and poor, but it fails to make any social commentary worth noting. Instead, “Good Deeds” is a bland transformational fairy tale filled with clichés.
Phylicia Rashad is so cold in her role that when she cries in one scene I half expected crystals of ice to form on her cheeks.
Newton slides by on her looks. She’s given nothing else to do except mouth poorly-written dialogue. Brother Wayne also has one of the most unintentionally funny breakdowns in the history of cinema.
Only Perry as Wesley escapes with his dignity somewhat intact. His banal dialogue is just as painful to endure, but his gentle giant approach is appealing. Less appealing, however, is his carefully manicured bear and Tom of Finland motorcycle outfit, but those are the least of this movie’s problems.
Ultimately, “Good Deeds” is what I call a “Seatbelt Movie.” This film so bad you’ll need a seatbelt to keep you from walking out halfway through it.