At the end of Tyler Perry’s Meet The Brown’s, Madea and her brother were on a high speed chase from the cops. Another punchline gag in the ever-growing trend of establishing the Tyler Perry humor. It is with this the set-up is put together for Madea Goes To Jail. The wise-cracking, gun-toting old lady with an attitude is back and is cocksurely navigating her way through a series of unfortunate events that are resolved within a resonable run-time.
For fans of the play, the storyline is a departure of sorts, while the lives of prison guards and their tumultuous dramatics played out on the stage, Madea Goes To Jail finds Assistant District Attorney, Josh Hardaway (Notorious’ Derek Luke) landing a case that’s too personal to handle: that of a young prostitute-slash-drug addict played by former Cosby kid, Keshia Knight-Pulliam. Their lives splintered by an as-yet-to-be-described situation, Josh and Candace have their reunion marred by the fiery Ion Overman – who plays Josh’s fiancée.
But the film wouldn’t be complete without Madea mania.
Always trying to “get someone before they get her,” Perry revs up the anger with quick wit, pedal to the metal and some pretty crazy scenarios. One part even involves a nice car and a forklift, but I won’t go into detail, you can use your imagination about what happens next.
All of this finally lands Madea behind jail – thus the film’s title – but there are some gaping plotholes that Perry and company forget to fill in to make the story resonate outside of his familiar audience. For instance, if Candace is such a bother to Josh’s fiancée, shouldn’t Josh put his foot down, instead of cowering in the face of nothing? No significant threats, no evilness really takes place between the movie’s principle characters. And when the “getcha-gotcha” finally is put together, there’s only a few minutes left, leaving the rest of the film in a rush to catch up to get to a resolution.
Candace and Madea finally meet up in jail to ease one another’s pain and in the end, pain is the key word that you go through when watching Madea Goes To Jail from canned laughs and set-up humor that doesn’t organically manifest itself through the film.
A cameo appearance from Dr. Phil doesn’t do anything to make the jokes any funnier, but it is good to see the dynamic duo able to improv a scene. While Perry is a master of thinking on his feet, filming in his native Georgia seems to have worn on the community and the energy of the series.
With one more film (Madea’s Class Reunion) left in the chamber – this seriously forces the director/writer/actor to step outside and deliver a hit without his franchise player. He’s done this twice over with Why Did I Get Married and The Family That Preys and Tyler can rest safely knowing that Hollywood will still be his playground while Madea spends the next 5-10 in a cell.