A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that as with any Tyler Perry movie, Good Deeds explores themes of family, class, and what it means to follow your dreams. There's some sexuality (a few kisses, one brief love scene that focuses on the couple's faces) and strong language ("s--t," "ass," "bitch," etc.). Violence is limited to a skirmish between two brothers (one is left whimpering on the floor) and one near-attack in a homeless shelter. Perry's films tend to focus on grander messages about the nature of a happy and fulfilled life, and this one is no exception.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) seems to have a perfect life. He's the CEO of his family's software business, lives in a swanky San Francisco apartment, drives a Porsche, and is engaged to a gorgeous woman (Gabrielle Union) from a just-as-posh family. But Wesley is just going through the motions to please his overbearing patrician mother (Phylicia Rashad) and overcompensate for his angry troublemaker of a little brother (Brian White) when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-and-out single mother who happens to be the night janitor in his building. As the two strike an unlikely bond, Wesley realizes everything that he's been missing in life by doing what others expect of him.
Is it any good?
Perry is such a powerful Hollywood player that he seems able to churn out anything and make a profit. In GOOD DEEDS, he creates yet another "message film" about what it means to have it all but want more (not in the material sense, but in the spiritual, life-affirming way Perry specializes in). He once again surrounds himself with a cast of fine actors, but there's something missing in this movie -- humor. For a filmmaker who started out as a comedian and who's best known for his character in drag (Madea), Perry's "dramedies" are heaving on the drama and low on the comedy.
The main problem is that Perry himself, despite his imposing height and size, isn't an actor of gravitas. As his compact on-screen brother, White possesses more of the screen (albeit in role that's a bit of a caricature) than the 6-foot-5 billionaire does. And as for the romantic subplots, Perry has zero chemistry with either Union or Newton, making any stilted declarations of love (whether physical or verbal) awkward and uninteresting. Wesley is just too bland to be a believable leading man, and his story so predictable that the audience knows exactly what will happen the moment Perry and Newton first meet-cute.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Good Deeds' messages about family and fulfillment. Wesley's life seemed perfect, but he wasn't happy -- why? Teens: How can you balance honoring your parents and following your dreams?
Those familiar with Perry's other films can talk about the enduring popularity of his movies. Which do you enjoy more -- his dramas or his comedies, and why?
Perry's movies have been compared to morality plays. How do their overt messages -- to be honest, hardworking, faithful, etc. -- impact the film's entertainment value?
- In theaters: February 24, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: June 12, 2012
- Cast: Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton, Tyler Perry
- Director: Tyler Perry
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Run time: 111 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, language, some violence and thematic material
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.