Based on the novel "You're Going to Prison," by Jim Hogshire, Let's Go to Prison is a silly comedy that skates by on goofy earnestness despite not really being about anything. It is a film that plays like a series of skits under the banner of slapstick revenge. Is it funny? Sure. Is it memorable? Not really. Is it worth seeing on the big screen? No, but it may be fun with some friends when it's out on DVD.
The story centers on John Lyshitski (Dax Shepard), a career criminal who has been in and out of correctional facilities since he was just a wee lad. Upon his most recent release, he sets out to share the pain of prison with the man responsible for his life path, Judge Nelson Biederman III. Unfortunately, he died a few days prior to his release. Still, fate is on his side as John finds the good judge has a son, Nelson Biederman IV (Will Arnett).
John sets out to share his love via proxy. Soon enough, Nelson is arrested and sent to prison. John, hoping to make sure that Nelson gets the full effect of the prison experience, gets himself arrested and assigned as Nelson's cellmate. There is the setup for the comedy that is yet to come.
The movie has a few funny moments, but it falters because there really aren't any characters to like. Nelson is not a nice guy. I was actually looking forward to the bad things that were going to happen to him. He is arrogant, he is obnoxious, and he deserves everything that he's got coming. Of course, nothing goes as planned. Lyshitski sets out to make sure he gets in as much trouble as possible.
All of the prison movie standards are there, rape jokes, white supremists, and the warden who fancies himself humorous. It is a movie that isn't nearly as funny as one would hope. It just seems to float along on the colorful characters that are paraded in front of the camera. The story itself is a slight matter, and I cannot believe that it was based on a novel.
While the story never comes together, it does bring up an interesting side of the serious. It brings up the idea of problems within our judicial system. This is nothing new; it is something that will most likely always be. It is a system that has flaws, but the alternatives never seem to be any better. In any case, the movie takes a look at the impact that early incarceration can have on a person.