What is it exactly that America wants from African-American men? Between Black Snake Moan and Daddy’s Little Girls, a sort of battle for the soul of the black man takes place.

Of course these two films, taken at random, may not represent a specific decree, but a sort of schizophrenia does exist between the man-of-color as the voice of God in films like Bruce Almighty (Morgan Freeman) and War of the Worlds (also Freeman) and the black man as gangster-drug dealer-pimp in films like Crash and Hustle & Flow.

Writer/director Tyler Perry works hard to rectify this imbalance with heartfelt films of upstanding, family oriented life with a strong set of moral values shot through. In Daddy’s Little Girls, Monty (Idris Elba), a divorced father of three girls who works hard and keeps his nose clean, embodies Perry’s ideal.

Unfortunately for him, his ex-wife out of some strange sense of pride wants full custody of the children even though she could clearly care less about them and does nothing to protect them from her drug dealing, abusive boyfriend.

Broke and desperate, Monty turns to the hotshot and quite hot lawyer, Julia, played by Gabrielle Union, whom he works for as a driver. Appealing to her better instincts, which she tries to hide, Monty manages to get her services pro bono as well as romance her. The movie pushes ahead in a completely straightforward manner that closely resembles a Hallmark film. The good people are good, and the bad people are bad through and through.

The dialogue, mostly on the nose, could use a little spice, and the characters could stray a bit from their paths. On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to go to a movie knowing what you’re in for.

The actors are all appealing, and the sentiment’s sincere. Daddy’s Little Girls is heartwarming, if you like that sort of thing.

Grade: C+

Daddy’s Little Girls is currently available.