Reviewed by: Mia J. Best
|Featuring:||Tyler Perry, Derek Luke, Keshia Knight Pulliam, David Mann, Tamela J. Mann, RonReaco Lee, Ion Overman, Vanessa Ferlito, Viola Davis, Sofía Vergara, Robin Coleman, Bobbi Baker, Aisha Hinds, Benjamín Benítez, Karan Kendrick, Njema Williams, Richard Malcolm Reed, Judge Mathis, Eric V. Williams, Elizabeth Wells Berkes, Judge Mablean Ephraim, Dr. Phil McGraw, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Joyner, Rev. Al Sharpton, Michael Baisden, Steve Harvey, Wanda Smith, Sybil Wilkes, Shirley Strawberry, J. Anthony Brown, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Theroun Patterson, Frank Ski, Tamika “Georgia Me” Harper, Rob Glidden, Constantine Varazo, Jackson Walker, Kevin Wayne, Leon Lamar, Allen Earls, Valeria Taylor, Sheryland Neal, Tony Harris, Mark Wilson, Annie Cook, Trey Greene, Nathan Standridge, Robert Summe, Keke Palmer, Joe Walsh|
|Producer:||The Tyler Perry Company, Roger M. Bobb, Reuben Cannon, Karen Gorodetzky, Michael Paseornek, Tyler Perry|
“Something big is coming to the big house.”
Well, this is MADEA we are talking about here. You know, the cussing, gun-toting, marijuana smoking, hit you with a hot pot of grits grandma whose own brand of wisdom mixes clichés with random pieces of scripture often misquoted or taken out of context. And MADEA was in full force in “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail.” She cursed, insulted, assaulted, advised and vandalized on cue, and judging from the bellows of laughter in the packed theater where I saw the movie, delighted most of the audience. But it is the same elements that make MADEA so funny that make me not recommend this film.
But I do recommend keeping an eye out on future Perry projects. Perry shows the most promise when the film focuses on telling the dramatic story of CANDACE a.k.a. “CANDY” the heroine-addicted prostitute played aggressively by Keshia Knight Pulliam (formerly Rudy of The Cosby Show TV series). The story unfolds at a comfortable pace revealing the connection between Candy and lawyer JOSHUA (played by Derek Luke). JOSHUA wants to help CANDY get off the streets, despite the tension it causes between him and his lawyer fiancé, LINDA.
It is actually JOSHUA’s compassion for and desire to help CANDY, despite her present circumstances, that stood out to me as like Jesus Christ. I was reminded of the story in John 8:1-11 about the woman who was caught in adultery. While the Pharisees were ready to condemn and sentence her to death, Jesus said to her (verse 11) “…Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Two other actresses whose performances stand out in supporting roles were Viola Davis as ELLEN a tough talking minister who works to get prostitutes off the streets and Vanessa Ferlito as DONNA a fellow prostitute and friend of CANDY’s. Both performances were delivered with such subtlety and depth that you only saw the character rather than an actress playing a character.
I did, however, take issue with ELLEN’s character as a minister distributing clean needles and condoms to the prostitutes on the streets. Since the Bible instructs us to abstain and avoid fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, not to be drunk (which could be applied to drugs) and flee sexual immorality (Galatians 5:17-21; 1 Corinthians 6:18), how can a minister of the gospel provide things that would help keep someone in those lifestyles? In addition, when CANDY tells ELLEN to “Go to hell,” ELLEN’s response was “You first.” I know that people believe Christians must adapt to our current society so that they can “relate” to our message better. But looking to Jesus as our example, He was insulted and did not return the same, but He always left his revilers with more truth and insight about the scriptures.
Perry attempts to leave audiences with a heartfelt message about redemption through CANDY’s story, while weaving the ludicrous antics of MADEA throughout the film. The problem is that this film seemed like two completely separate stories with completely different tones. Often there was no real transition between the dramatic and the comedic scenes. I think this cheated the audience of the proper build up for some of the dramatic scenes. For example, some people were snickering during a serious scene when JOSHUA’s character revealed his true motivation for helping CANDY.
Overall, I do not recommend this movie for the language, violence, sexual innuendo, the Lord’s name taken in vain, and lack of effectively weaving the two storylines.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See reviews of other Tyler Perry movies.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.