PG-13 for mature thematic material, drug content, some violence and sexual situations.
February 20, 2009
Tyler Perry, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Derek Luke, Ion Overman, David Mann, Tamela J. Mann, Vanessa Ferlito, RonReaco Lee, Viola David, Sofia Vergara, and Robin Coleman
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Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail
- Tyler Perry’s Madea movies blend broad comedy with melodrama. The combination does not work so well in Madea Goes to Jail, because the comedy is not always funny. Also, it takes awhile before Perry links his comical story with the dramatic one.
In the movie’s dramatic portion, Joshua, an assistant district attorney in Atlanta, tries to help a friend, Candace, a drug addict who has been picked up for prostitution. Joshua feels responsible for Candace’s downfall years ago when he failed to protect her from being raped by some college football players at their school.
Derek’s efforts to help Candace upset his fiancé, Linda, who works with Joshua in the prosecutor’s office. Linda conspires to add some criminal charges from another file that’s been closed onto Candace’s file.
Meanwhile, Madea herself has problems with the law. She cannot control her own anger. At first, a judge orders her to take an anger management course. Madea doesn’t do well in the course, and she is forced to go to Dr. Phil himself.
Eventually, midway through the story, Madea and Candace end up in jail together. Madea helps Candace avoid the advances of a tough female inmate as both get counseling from a female preacher ministering to the women convicts.
The comedy scenes in Madea Goes to Jail are a bit uneven, despite two scenes of Madea arguing with Dr. Phil, which are hilarious. The first of those two scenes slows down the plot a bit.
Consequently, it’s the dramatic portion of the movie that is more interesting and compelling. The drama is helped by the performances of Derek Luke as Joshua and especially Keshia Knight Pulliam as Candace. Another problem is that the jail part mentioned in the movie’s title doesn’t happen until midway through the story.
In spite of a redemptive Christian ending, Madea Goes to Jail contains plenty of foul language, adult sexual references and some jokes about using marijuana. This content diminishes the movie’s positive Christian messages.
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