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After a high-speed freeway chase puts Madea TYLER PERRY in front of the judge, her reprieve is short-lived as anger management issues get the best of her and land her in jail. A gleeful Joe TYLER PERRY couldn't be happier at Madea's misfortune. But Madea's eccentric family members, the Browns DAVID and TAMELA MANN, rally behind her, lending their special "country" brand of support. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Hardaway DEREK LUKE is on the fast track to career success. But Hardaway lands a case too personal to handle – defending young prostitute and former drug addict Candace Washington KESHIA KNIGHT PULLIAM – and asks his fiancée and fellow Assistant District Attorney Linda Holmes ION OVERMAN to fill in on his behalf. When Candace ends up in jail, Madea befriends the young woman, protecting her in a "motherly" way as only Madea can.
Tyler Perry puts "the shut to the up" to his critics. Madea Goes to Jail is the fourth of his seven films to open at No. 1 at the box office. Even tween faves the Jonas Brothers and their 3-D Concert Experience were no match for Perry and his indomitable Madea, the straight-shooting, Glock-wielding grandma who put him on the map. A prolific playwright, Perry is a consummate showman who knows his audience, and Jail delivers what they expect from him: soul-stirring melodrama, boisterous physical comedy, and inspirational faith-based uplift. What it could use is more Madea, whose name is in the title, but who takes a backseat to another one of Perry's mis-matched couples; Joshua Derek Luke, a good-hearted up-from-the-ghetto assistant prosecutor, and Linda Ion Overman a lawyer and upwardly-mobile "princess," who becomes threatened when Joshua is reunited with Candy, a childhood friend turned strung-out prostitute Omigod, it's Rudy from The Cosby Show! Madea makes the most of her limited screen time. Whether scattering unwanted guests from her house, turning the tables on a woman who stole her parking space, or even leaving Dr. Phil at a loss for words, Madea brings it in all her rabble-rousing glory. She doesn't actually go to jail until the film is well under way, but it's worth the wait as she protects the incarcerated Candy from the jail's strapping gang leader. Madea Goes to Jail little resembles the play upon which it is based also available on DVD, but it comes to the screen audience-tested. Perry is not a flashy film director, but his reliance on close-ups is Tyler-made for the small screen. It is a testament to Perry's newfound Hollywood clout that he can attract an actor of Luke's caliber, as well as cameos from Judge Mathis and members of The View. He may joke in interviews about wanting to kill off Madea, but his and her fans needn't worry. As a judge remarks about Madea early on in Jail, "She'll be back. She couldn't stay out of trouble if she tried." --Donald Liebenson