Published Feb 23, 2012Because Tyler Perry looks like Loretta Devine, with a beard, his movies, no matter how contrived and atrociously written, have a certain amusement factor, much like how envisioning Benjamin Bratt as a talking giraffe in Miss Congeniality gives it repeat viewing value.
It also doesn't hurt that Perry has his characters speak without any sense of subtlety or grace, often spelling out the subtext, or lack thereof, in any given scene with long-winded exposition that's exacerbated by lethargic, almost non-existent direction.
For example, in the opening scene of Good Deeds, software company CEO Wesley Deeds (Perry) drones on in voiceover about how he's always adhered to every parental and social expectation, feeling like a hollow, unhappy shell as a successful billionaire. Meanwhile, his perfectly manicured fiancé, Natalie (Gabrielle Union), recites Deeds's morning rituals in the mirror, driving home the already verbalized idea that he's a slave to routine and she's bored.
Enter a controlling mother (Phylicia Rashad) and drunken, misogynist brother (Brian White), who's defined by his inability to control his emotions, and Wesley's character archetype is complete, leading to the living catalyst for change, Lindsay (Thandie Newton), whose financial woes have left her and her daughter homeless. Can anyone guess how Wesley and his sassy janitor employee, Lindsay, help each other? Hint: the title has a clever double meaning.
Aside from the plethora of directionless, meandering scenes that would have been more effective with some conciseness, Perry's clumsy handling of transition and set up makes this souped-up, superficial romance frequently laughable. Characters casually toss in awkward back story components in casual conversation and/or react to a statement like "ass" with illogically strained remarks like, "Oh no, you ain't gettin' any of that."
Add to this a soundtrack that features a hokey remake of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" during a reflective montage and Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting" during the emotional climax and you wind up with a movie that induces groans and unintended laughter where pathos and identification were intended.
Furthermore, Perry's interpretation of a software CEO seems to be that of, "I'm a businessman doing business things. Look at me hold this pen!" (Alliance)