Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tyler Perry: Good Deeds

Tyler Perry, Brian Jai White, Good Deeds, Lionsgate Films, 2012.

Nobody knows how to manipulate African-America on such a grandiose scale as entrepreneur extraordinaire Tyler Perry. The down home, God-fearing population he caterd to have a rich history of dance, song and theater from which to cull inspiration from. Perry, who has built an empire on sappy movies which are fascinating in their popularity, what that says about us, and their ultimate ineptitude.

Madea is a frighteningly transfixing black gay icon, yet Tyler Perry just isn't a very good actor when he's playing it straight. Good Deeds, his fleetingly interesting new picture, draws extensively from Douglas Sirk-era 1950s Hollywood melodramas and American daytime soap operas (now nearly extinct.) Perry as the titular character, a never believable rich guy with a heart of gold, surrounded by wretched people. Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union both have thankless roles as his emasculating, over the top mother and fiance, respectively. It takes him meeting another unlikeable, forced character (played by the amazing Thandie Newton, though), in the form of a destitute, single mom cleaning lady, cue music.

Aaron Zigman's score is definitely one of the best things about the entire affair. Brian Jai White overacts uncomfortably as Perry's troubled bro, while Perry clandestinely underacts to the point of extinction, blowing the whole thing. Token white actors Rebecca Romijn and Jamie Kennedy appear. The San Francisco scenery is breathtaking. Its just that Perry really has no style, its all too cliche-ridden and simplistic, but I guess THAT is his style.

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