Making the Grades
Wesley Deeds (played by Tyler Perry) is the kind of son parents brag about and siblings hate to be compared to. He’s conscientious, hard working and predictable. He’s also a far cry from Tyler Perry’s cheeky fictional character Madea.
Wesley has been groomed from childhood to assume the role of president in his father’s computer software firm. Since his dad’s death he’s put aside his own personal interests and goals to run the business even as his younger, and often inebriated, brother (Brian White) whines about his own paltry responsibilities in the company.
At home, Wesley’s live-in fiancé Natalie (Gabrielle Union) is bored with her boyfriend’s lack of spontaneity, especially when it comes to their sexual activity. To compensate for his late hours at the office, she spends a night with her friends at a club and comes home completely drunk, then wonders why he rejects her clumsy pawing.
On the less posh side of town, Lindsey Wakefield (Thandie Newton) is a single mom struggling to make ends meet with the money she gets from her janitorial job in the Deed’s office building. Her outspoken, virulent mouth gets her in trouble when she rips a strip off the two Deed brothers after she parks in Wesley’s reserved spot. Only later does she realize whom she has berated. But despite her crusty persona, Wesley takes an interest in the woman and her young daughter (Jordenn Thompson), whom he finds the child sleeping in the custodial closet while her mother works. Regardless of what his family thinks, he begins to help Lindsey get back on her feet.
While Perry’s serious portrayal of the young, successful businessman is a refreshing change from the madcap behaviors of Madea, Good Deeds is heavy on drama and light on the kind of humor viewers expect to find in one of this actor’s movies. As well, the plot is so predictable and the characters so formulaic that it’s not hard to see where this film is going from the opening scenes.
Yet in spite of some content concerns for viewers (including strong language, implied sexual activity, frequent innuendo and a sibling fistfight) the film’s willingness to trumpet overt lessons about morality and community responsibility isn’t entirely bad. If the imposing figure of Tyler Perry can convince people to look around and help those less fortunate than themselves the message may be worthwhile. Even if you feel like you’ve been walloped over the head with it.
Release Date: 24 February 2012 (Limited)
Note: Also known as Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Good Deeds.
Why is Wesley unhappy despite his seemingly perfect life? What kinds of things contribute to real happiness? What does he discover about himself after he meets Lindsey? How do his goals differ from those of his fiancé?
Do you appreciate the strong moral messages in a film or do you think they distract from the entertainment value of the movie?
Have you ever been compared to a sibling? If so, how did you fare? What are the dangers of comparing children? Are there ever any positive reasons for judging one sibling against another?