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Will Tyler Perry’s latest Good Deeds go unnoticed? In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: February 21, 2012

good-deeds06Most “name” directors have a trademark that makes their movies instantly recognizable.

Is there a long tracking shot? Must be Scorsese. How about a blue sun flare? That’s Spielberg. A car trunk shot? Thanks Tarantino.

A man in drag as a pistol-packing grandmother? Well that would be Tyler Perry. His trademark isn’t as auspicious as, say, John Woo’s slow motion doves, but what Tyler’s movies lack stylistically they generally make up in box office success.

This weekend’s Good Deeds isn’t likely to make Tyler’s name synonymous with auteur, but when Forbes calls you the highest paid man in entertainment — he took home $130 million between May 2010 and 2011 — no other title really matters.

But what if you’ve never seen a Tyler Perry movie? For the uninitiated, here’s a checklist of how to spot a Perry film:

1. Is there a character named Mabel (Madea) Simmons? She is the cornerstone on which Perry built his empire.

Perry has played the argumentative character in dozens of productions on stage, TV and in movies like Madea Goes to Jail.

Entertainment Weekly put the character on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list saying, “Tyler Perry’s Madea is the profane, gun-toting granny you never had but (maybe) wish you did.”

Weird accent — she says things like, “Halleluyer! Praise da lort!” — and bad behaviour aside, Madea is usually used to teach a lesson.

2.   Is the story melodramatic, up-lifting and/or redemptive?

While none of those traits are exclusive to Perry’s films, he manages to highlight the melodramatic aspects of his stories in ways not usually seen outside of The Young and the Restless.

As for uplift and redemption, Perry’s deeply held religious beliefs bleed into his films and plots, which frequently reference Christian values.

“I don’t want to do movies just to do movies,” he says. “I want to do movies that inspire, motivate and change lives.”

3.   Do the critics hate it? If so, it might be a Perry film.

His average Rotten Tomatoes rating clocks in around 50 per cent, and The Times suggests that his movies have “a little something for everyone, as long as you’re not expecting too much.”

Does Perry care? Not so much. “The highbrow. They don’t get it,” he says.

4.   Lastly, and this is the dead give-a-way, most of his films have his name in the title.

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