Tyler Perry stars as a successful and wealthy businessman who has always done what's expected of him...until he meets a single mother who inspires him to live the life he's always wanted.?
Tyler Perry steps away from his popular character Madea to play a very different role, and the risk pays off. In Good Deeds
, Perry plays Wesley Deeds, the son of a successful software magnate who's ended up running his father's company along with his undependable brother (Brian White, I Can Do Bad All by Myself
). He's engaged to marry Natalie (Gabrielle Union, Bring It On
) in what promises to be a comfortable but dull relationship. By chance in his office building he meets a cleaning woman named Lindsey (Thandie Newton, Crash
), a single mother whose life is falling apart--and in trying to help her, he discovers that the life he's leading will never bring him happiness. Good Deeds
suffers from a few overly broad strokes and stays firmly within the boundaries of the romance genre, but despite that it's Perry's most understated and layered movie. Newton is particularly good, grounding the picture in Lindsey's simmering panic, and her interplay with Perry has a lot of heart that carries the movie through some of its more fairy-tale-romance conventions. Union and Phylicia Rashad are also strong; White is a bit over-the-top, but his role is the most melodramatically written. Overall, though, Good Deeds
unfolds more subtly than previous Perry films but is more emotionally engaging for it. --Bret Fetzer