Film Review by Kam Williams
Tyler Perry Morality Play Finds Groom-to-be Torn between Shallow Fiancée and Homeless Widow
Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has it all, or so it seems, between serving as CEO of a thriving computer software company and his impending marriage to a successful, if shallow, San Francisco realtor (Gabrielle Union). The dedicated, driven executive was handpicked by his mother (Phylicia Rashad) over his hot-headed brother, Walter (Brian White), to replace their late father to run Deeds Corporation.
But because Wesley has spent most of his life trying to satisfy the wishes of the domineering family matriarch, he might be getting married in a few months more to please her than himself. Even his already-jaded fiancée, Natalie, finds her Momma’s Boy a tad too boring and predictable, despite his being a great catch.
Then, while the couple is in the midst of putting the final touches on their elaborate wedding plans, a fly lands in the nuptial ointment in the person of a most-unlikely other woman. Lindsey Wakefield (Thandie Newton) is a struggling, single-mom living in a car with her 6 year-old daughter, Ariel (Jordenn Thompson).
She fell on hard times after her husband was killed in Iraq, when she had to drop out of nursing school and find a job. And the only reason the homeless woman and wealthy Wesley happen to cross paths is because she’s the night janitor in his office building.
The gruff, ghetto girl initially rubs her relatively-refined boss the wrong way. After all, she is definitely a little rough around the edges, and just not the class of female Wesley’s accustomed to associating with.
However, the tension between the two starts to dissolve the night she offers to give him a back massage while he’s burning the midnight oil at work. And upon hearing all the details of her pitiful plight, Wesley altruistically offers Lindsey and little Ariel a free apartment to crash in indefinitely.
Will this gallant knight-in-shining-armor develop deeper feelings for the grimy damsel-in-distress who subsequently cleans up so nicely, literally and figuratively? If so, will he be able to summon up the gumption to break off his engagement, given the little matter of his fast-approaching wedding day?
That difficult dilemma is the raison d’etre of Good Deeds, the latest modern morality play written by, directed by and starring Tyler Perry. Avoiding his usual staples of comic relief courtesy of Madea and clownish support characters, Perry presents this sober soap opera in straightforward fashion.
Consequently, in the absence of those typical distractions, the plot is not only perfectly plausible but remains refreshingly grounded in reality from start to finish. Along the way, veteran lead actors, Tyler, Thandie Newton and Gabrielle Union, generate a convincing chemistry guaranteed to keep you on edge right up to the surprising resolution of the unfortunate love triangle.
Another compelling Tyler Perry parable delivering a priceless message about what really matters most.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence, profanity and mature themes.
Running time: 129 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Friday, February 24, 2012