[Screen It]


(2012) (Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton) (PG-13)

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Drama: A businessman's life is knocked out of its routine when he meets a down on her luck single mother who cleans his office building.
Wesley Deeds (TYLER PERRY) seems to have it all. The San Francisco businessman is engaged to the beautiful Natalie (GABRIELLE UNION) and he runs the highly successful software company his late father built into an empire. His proper mother, Wilimena (PHYLICIA THOMPSON), couldn't be happier with him, especially when compared to his hot-tempered brother, Walter (BRIAN WHITE). Keeping a promise to his father to watch over him, Wesley lets him work at the company, even if that ends up being disruptive to the work of his right-hand man, John (EDDIE CIBRIAN).

Walter's temper flares when Lindsey (THANDIE NEWTON) ends up momentarily parking in Wesley's reserved spot while she tries to get an advance on her paycheck. The single mother to 6-year-old Ariel (JORDENN THOMPSON), Lindsey is about at her wit's end trying to make ends meet and avoid being evicted from her apartment. Initially unbeknownst to Wesley, she works as a cleaning person in his building, and ends up living out of her van when she does get kicked out of her place.

Despite their initial antagonistic confrontations and their overall employer-employee relationship, the two become friends. As they do so, he helps her out financially, while she helps him realize he needs to live his own life and not that of others expected of him.

OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits.

With Tyler Perry films, there are pretty much only two options. One is having the highly successful filmmaker dress up in drag as his gun-totin,' pot-smokin' Madea alter-ego. The other is having him as a supporting player or lead in a melodrama of some sort about people and their relationship and/or interpersonal issues.

The latter is what's at work in "Good Deeds," and at least I can say that Madea doesn't show up. Actually, the film isn't bad, although it has some clumsy moments scattered throughout. And at times, it actually has its share of affecting moments. The only problem is, the overall pic is fairly glacial in its pacing, offers no surprises, and runs 30 to 40 minutes too long.

Perry's fans might like it (if they can make do without any Madea sightings), but this will be fairly boring stuff for anyone else, especially since no new ground is being trodden upon with the script, direction or performances. "Good Deeds" rates as a 5 out of 10.

Reviewed February 24, 2012 / Posted February 24, 2012

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