Before achieving the success he’s currently enjoying, Tyler Perry was a struggling playwright who wrote plays that were performed for small audiences. Today he has two successful TV shows and his plays have been loosely adapted into very successful movies.
After the heaviness of The Family That Preys, Perry wanted to do something a bit lighter and fun. He chose Madea Goes to Jail. Tyler back in drag reprises his role of Mable "Madea" Simmons, who’s a no-nonsense, tell it like it is, take no crap from anyone woman, and if that’s not enough, she also carries a gun on her person.
Throughout his past films, Madea has been bigger than life, giving her advice and whupping anyone she felt deserved it, but finally she takes center stage in this film. Madea once again finds herself in front of Judge Mablean who desperately wants to throw the book at her, but due to some sloppy work on the part of the police has to let her off with a slap on the wrist and orders her to seek treatment for anger management. Her therapist is Dr. Phil, who confronts the angry granny and gives up when she refuses to cooperate during their session.
The therapy doesn’t work, and Madea’s anger explodes when a woman steals her parking spot at K-Mart. In retaliation Madea gets a forklift and wrecks the woman’s car. Big mistake since the woman’s husband is a cop and Madea finds herself back in court, this time in front of Judge Mathis who throws the book at her and gives her five to ten years.
This should have been the first 15 minutes of the movie; however other plots take away from Madea’s screen time and she’s not sentenced until more than halfway through the movie. What would have been better is Madea is sentenced, goes to jail and then because of her personality ends up running the prison after establishing her dominance. There are a couple of confrontations but it could have been so much funnier. Perry adapts his plays for the silver screen — maybe this is one of those plays that doesn’t translate well.