Director/playwright Tyler Perry’s latest movie ‘Good Deeds‘ soared to #2 behind ‘Act of Valor‘ at the box office this weekend. ‘Good Deeds’ earned a respectable $15,583,924 on 2,132 screens, while ‘Act of Valor‘ brought in $24,476,632 — on ? more screens than ‘Deeds’ was shown on.

Good Deeds‘ is about an anal-retentive, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Perry), trying to ‘save’ an exotic, LSLH cleaning woman (Thandie Newton) who works for his computer software firm.

Wesley Deeds is a hard-working, compassionate man who looks out for his narcissistic brother, Walter (Brian White), despite the fact that Walter sabotages his every move.

Deeds is so attentive to details that his daily routine can easily be predicted by his live-in fiancee, Natalie (Gabrielle Union).

Union turns in a wonderful performance as the understanding, submissive girlfriend who makes breakfast for her man every morning, while allowing him to go about his day without “checking in” with her (because she trusts him not to break from his routine). The warm, beautiful Natalie is every black man’s dream.

What could be more perfect?

Well, ‘Good Deeds‘ is a feel-good movie for movie goers who seek a little respite from reality. But like most reality TV, ‘Deeds’ is more escapism and fantasy than realism.

Like all of Perry’s movies, ‘Deeds’ carries a hidden message, but his message is lost in all the sentimental, overemotional hokum of the movie’s script.

Let’s begin with Newton’s “Lindsey” character. She’s a single mother of one who is down on her luck. Lindsey’s life is spiraling out of control due to her own irresponsible behavior and poor decision making. In quick succession, the IRS has garnished her paychecks for not paying her taxes on time, and she and her 6-year-old daughter, Ariel (Jordenn Thompson), are evicted for not paying her rent on time. Lindsey’s meager savings, which was hidden in a mattress, is stolen by looters going through her personal belongings left on the street. And she barely has enough money to put gas in the van that she and Ariel are forced to sleep in at night.

When Deeds and Lindsay first meet in the parking garage of his firm, she calls him an “ass” for asking a two truck driver not to tow her car from where she parked it in his personal parking space!

Lindsay would call Deeds an “ass” one more time before the day was through. Her excessive hostility and sarcasm toward him, when he is simply trying to help her, is somehow supposed to make us feel sorry for her. Eventually, Lindsey warms up to Deeds, whom she quietly despises. Lke most experienced gold diggers (and strippers), Lindsey knows a sucker when she meets one.

But despite all of those red flags fluttering in his face, Wesley Deeds, like most black men, only sees her exotic beauty and her good hair. He is smitten, and once the Dopamine starts flowing, he practically throws his life away — everything he has worked so hard for — to ‘save’ Lindsey.

Deeds’ fiancee, Natalie, is very perceptive. It’s not long before Natalie notices certain breaks in Wesley’s daily routine — danger signals that his attention is being occupied by another woman.

But the dark-skinned Natalie is self-confident and secure. She is immune to the damaging effects of dopamine. So when she meets the object of her man’s affections at an office party, she doesn’t go off or act jealous — even though Wesley thinks a little jealousy is reassuring.

Natalie simply accepts that Wesley will eventually move on with the gold digger — and she, Natalie, will move on with her life.

Without giving away the entire plot, the not-so hidden message in Tyler Perry ‘Good Deeds‘ is for dark skinned women to be humble and submissive, and accept their fates when their men decide to cancel their engagement and throw their lives away to go globe-hopping with exotic LSLH cleaning ladies.

Photos by Quantrell Colbert – © 2011 Very Perry Films