Thursday, February 23, 2012

'Good Deeds' stars Tyler Perry as Wesley Deeds. Get it?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 9:42 AM

BECAUSE THE TITLE GOOD WESLEY WOULD MAKE NO SENSE. Tyler Perry
  • Lionsgate
  • BECAUSE THE TITLE 'GOOD WESLEY' WOULD MAKE NO SENSE. Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry plays the leading role in his new film Good Deeds, which opens Feb. 24. His character's name? Wesley Deeds. Presumably one has to see the film to know whether the title Good Deeds is literal or ironic.

I have a soft spot for those kind of movie titles, which typically contain a labored pun on one of its characters' names. Maybe my favorite example is a fictional one, when Troy McClure of "The Simpsons" announced, "My new show is called 'Handle with Care.' I play Jack Handle, a retired cop who shares an apartment with a retired criminal. We're the original Odd Couple!" There are plenty of real examples, of course:

(500) Days of Summer (2009): Zooey Deschanel plays Summer Finn.
Get Smart (2008): Steve Carell plays Maxwell Smart (as per the original TV show).
Saving Grace (2000): Brenda Blethyn plays Grace. (Most other titles with "Grace" are also character puns.)
Wild Wild West (1999): Will Smith plays Capt. James West (also based on a TV show).
Good Will Hunting (1997): Matt Damon is Will Hunting.
Jason's Lyric (1994): Jada Pinkett Smith plays Lyric.
Poetic Justice (1993): Janet Jackson plays Justice — who is a poet!
A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994): Keenan Ivory Wayans plays Shame.
Angel Heart (1986): Mickey Rourke plays Harold Angel.
The Silence of the Lambs (1992): Jodie Foster plays FBI agent Clarice Lambs. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)

If you can think of others, feel free to share. Thanks to Topher Payne, Theresa O'Shea, David Cornelius, Kerri Haugh, Kathy Viele and Robert Abele for suggestions.

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