Tyler Perry's Good Deeds Did Some Good

I went to see Tyler Perry's Good Deeds (name of the movie; I'm aware you already know the filmmaker; henceforth "Good Deeds"). I was surprised that I liked it, but I shouldn't have been. I tend to really enjoy Mr. Perry's non-Madea movies. However, I did have some qualms with it but I have qualms with most movies because I'm a critical watcher. Let's dive in, shall we?

First my issues: Suspension of disbelief is always a problem in Perry's movies. I already knew that Perry's main character, Wesley Deeds, makes the assertion that he is 5th generation ivy league educated which bothered me during the promo period of the movie and of course continued to annoy me when it was said in the movie. I like that he created a well-to-do black family for us with it's own interesting privilege issues, but I wish he'd been realistic about how that family might have come to be. Also, as a person who works in schools I took issue with a few of the scenes around Lindsay (the single mother played by Thandie Newton) and her child and custody. I know several people didn't like how things tied together nicely at the end and so quickly -- more suspension of disbelief, but you have to do that sometimes for movies.

I also noted a few plot holes like when in one scene Natalie's (Wesley's fiancee, played by Gabrielle Union) friend Mark says he's never met Wesley only for the audience to later see Wesley call Mark by name and jokingly say that he'd better have a cab ride home -- not an exchange you'd expect between two people who've never met. Those happen in movies; they always annoy me but that's just me.

Right from the jump I was happy that Tyler brought us out of Atlanta and took us to San Francisco. I don't believe "The Family That Preys" was set in Atlanta either but we also were never made aware of what city it was so that doesn't count.

I've been saying for awhile now that Perry's movies would behoove themselves to make use of subtlety. Everything doesn't have to be spelled out and finally he gave me what I was looking for. We first meet the couple as they're getting ready for work. Instead of having Natalie, tell us flat out that he was predictable, we hear Natalie say the things that she knows Wesley will say because he always does and through that we learn very easily that he's a man of pattern. Not only that but in that simple exchange we can see HOW predictable he is; right down to what he'll say!

Of course Natalie goes on to eventually spell it out for a fellow character and then later for Wesley himself, but the initial subtlety was much appreciated and noted.

Perry likes to use his movies as soapboxes, especially when Madea is in them, on how to raise your kids and I thought he was going to do that this time around -- he kinda did -- but he surprised me when the single mom pushed back with some key points of her own about how difficult it is to raise a child, especially alone. As much as the point was made that kids need good parents, so was the point that good parents need support and it's very much easy to outside or armchair quarterback.

Other high points: this movie was ripe for opportunities to drag out a story line (and at 1 hour and 57 minutes, I expected it to do that in parts) but for the most part, it didn't. Perry made fairly good use of screen time, pretty much always progressing the plot. The ending is no surprise but the delivery worked enough to have even a jaded movie watcher like myself not sure what to expect, right away.

Overall, like I said, I really liked the movie. Perry surprised me with how well he wrote it. I frequently find myself in his movies wishing the dialogue was like 2 points better so it could be tolerated; this time he brought it up 5 points. I think he got great actors for all the parts. Brian White overacted once or twice, but that happens too. Wesley needed an antagonist, the brother (played by White) as sabatoger sub-plot worked but it never really fleshed out; Walter was an ass and then suddenly, we assume, he wasn't. Not much more to that except watching him just be an ass for the duration of the movie.

I'll give Tyler Perry's Good Deeds 3.5 stars out of 5.

Oh: "Time After Time" HAS to be the most covered song in American Pop history. Seriously. I also appreciated that he put "Right Here Waiting (For You)" in the movie too.

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