Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
At this point, I have observed that when it comes to film Tyler Perry has two distinct flavors. There's his madcap, funny brand of entertainment usually involving a series of outlandish mishaps being solved by an outrageous yet highly comical character. And then there's the other type of Tyler Perry picture that is a full-on drama where everything is as tastefully done as it would be in a picture by Nora Ephron or something based on a book that was written by the same author that brought you “The Notebook”. Instead of catchy quips and wild stunts the "Perry drama" usually features a stand-out ensemble delivering quality performances that would make even the most cynical critic give at least a small nod towards Perry's cinematic efforts.
Good Deeds is a product from the more serious side of the “Perry-verse”. The plot is multifaceted and though Wesley is the focal character there are lots of characters with their own unique and interesting side stories. Wesley's brother, Walter (Brian J. White), is highly resentful of of his “golden boy” sibling so he's a sympathetic villain who does some crappy things but I felt bad for him because he's just acting out on his need to be as adored and appreciated as Wesley is. Natalie (Gabrielle Union) is Wesley's fiancee and though she loves Wesley and bears the engagement ring with pride there is a cloud of doubt that lingers over her desire to be “Mrs. Deeds”. And then there's the Deeds family matriarch, Wilimena (Phylicia Rashad), who means well but the weight of her familial goals might be too much for Wesley to bear much longer.
The film also touches on several "hot button" issues such as the disproportion of wealth that has the rich doing incredibly well and the middle class steadily dissolving. The visual contrasts are quite blatant as we see, for example, Natalie and her pals (Rebecca Romijn and Jamie Kennedy) rocking out with the well-to do and fabulous while Lindsey is forced to have her daughter sleep in the corporate office where she works because she has no other option. Or the exchange between Lindsey and Wesley when she accuses the wealthy man of being so out of touch that he doesn't even know what the cost of milk is.
What I liked was that Mr. Perry (screenwriter) wrote Lindsey as a tough and independent character. She is prideful and driven to survive mostly for the sake of her daughter, Ariel. Like Wesley, some might view Lindsey's actions as irresponsible and even abusive to Ariel. But Mr. Perry makes it clear that what Lindsey does is out of a strong love for a little girl and also an opportunity to teach Ariel how to stand on her own two feet when no one is able or willing to assist. Even the relationship that slowly develops between Wesley and Lindsey is slowly evolved due mostly in part in Lindsey's unwillingness to become the kind of person that waits around waiting for a wealthy person to put a coin in her cup. In Lindsey is the person that works hard for the money and won't sell out but will accept help when no other option exists.
On the other side of the fence is Wesley who is well-to-do but wasn't always that way. His father worked hard to build up Deeds Corporation into the successful business that has afforded the Deeds family a very luxurious lifestyle and Wesley is under pressure to keep the business as solid as when his father was running it. While Lindsey struggles with having too little Wesley is saddled with the responsibility of running Deeds Corporation, playing babysitter to his irresponsible brother, playing the model soon-to-be husband for Natalie and making sure that “Mother Deeds” has plenty to brag about to her society friends. Wesley is trapped in a role he truly does not want until Lesley enters his life and gives him a secret stairway out of the pressures of corporate success and public scrutiny.
I almost didn't bring this up but I can't help it.
It was a bit of an amusement to see the table turned with Rebecca Romijn, a gorgeous white and blonde woman, playing the “buddy” to Gabrielle Union's high maintenance real estate agent. In a mainstream, slightly comedic drama like this Romijn would be the diva and Union would be the gal pal tagging along and getting at least 3 minutes of screen time. It was great to see Tyler Perry as the head of a corporation and a very capable and sharp CEO, at that. And there's more besides with more films coming out in the cineplexes that feature predominantly black casts. Here's to hoping that the trend extends to the Latino and Asian markets because they have stories that should be shared in the mainstream market, too. Where's the next Selena (1997)? Where's the next The Joy Luck Club (1993)?
Anywho, I think Good Deeds was a well written and well acted socioeconomic fairy tale. I guess many would call the plot predictable or a typical “Cinderella story” but I felt that Mr. Perry's screenplay did a good job of putting some effective forks in the road so that it wasn't always so obvious that “Character A” would move in with “Character B” or that “Character C” would so graciously accept the decision of “Character D”. Overall, Good Deeds is a pretty good drama with a sensational cast and touches on a variety of topics that will make for great conversation after the credits roll.
Rhymes With: The Family That Preys (2008), For Colored Girls (2010), Why Did I Get Married? (2007), Jumping The Broom (2011), The Help (2011), The Blind Side (2009), Up In The Air (2009), Eve's Bayou (1997), The Kids Are Alright (2010)
The Five Year Engagement (4/27/12) – From the producer of Bridesmaids (2011) comes this comical tale about two lovebirds and their very long journey to matrimony. Marketing did a keen job with the faux wedding blog for the two lead characters, “Tom” and “Violet”. Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Kevin Hart and Mimi Kennedy. http://www.thefiveyearengagementmovie.com/
What To Expect When You're Expecting (5/18/12) – An ensemble piece about childhood from a wide variety of viewpoints and based on the trailer this could be a very, very funny experience worth spending a ticket on. The laundry list of stars includes Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Banks, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Morrison, Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz and more. Honestly, the multiple shots of a shirtless Joe Manganiello (“Alcide” from True Blood) pretty much sealed the deal for me. Yes, friends, no matter how evolved and educated we get....sex still sells, ha ha ha. http://www.whattoexpect.com/what-to-expect-the-movie.aspx
The Lucky One (4/20/12) – Zac Efron is a soldier in Iraq. He finds a picture of a woman and after he is released from his tour of duty he travels to find the woman in the photo. For the full story you can read the original novel by Nicholas Sparks (also authored “The Notebook”, “Dear John”, “Message In A Bottle”) or you can just watch the preview. The whole story is practically spelled out in the trailer. Nice to see Mr. Efron continuing to branch out from his “teeny-bopper” heydays. Also features Taylor Schilling, Jay R. Ferguson and Blythe Danner. http://theluckyonemovie.warnerbros.com/index.html
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