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Madea Goes to Jail (2009)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 20 February 2009 (USA)
0:58 | Trailer
Mischievous grandma Madea lands in jail, where she meets a variety of mixed-up characters.


Tyler Perry


Tyler Perry (based on the stage play by), Tyler Perry
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyler Perry ... Madea / Joe / Brian
Derek Luke ... Joshua Hardaway
Keshia Knight Pulliam ... Candace Washington
David Mann ... Brown
Tamela J. Mann ... Cora (as Tamela Mann)
RonReaco Lee ... Chuck
Ion Overman ... Linda
Vanessa Ferlito ... Donna
Viola Davis ... Ellen
Sofía Vergara ... T.T.
Robin Coleman ... Big Sal
Bobbi Baker Bobbi Baker ... Tanya
Aisha Hinds ... Fran
Benjamín Benítez ... Arthur
Karan Kendrick ... Guard Watson
Learn more

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Mischievous grandma Madea lands in jail, where she meets a variety of mixed-up characters.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, drug content, some violence and sexual situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The parking lot scene at the K-mart is similar to the parking lot scene at Winn Dixie in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. See more »


When Miss Smug 'n' Shallow begins to waltz across the parking lot toward the BigK after her rude-smiley sass reply of, "I saw you --- I took it!", she starts to cross over the white-painted handicapped-striped area in the next spot over from her car. Several seconds elapse after this, during the close-up shot of Madea doing her "Yeah, just walk off like you bad! Are you bad?!" fuming, yet when the camera cuts away to the wide-angle again, Miss S&S is just barely to the other side of the striped area, which would have only taken her a second or two to reach. See more »


Madea: I don't understand why people want to be a victim. Your mama did this, your daddy did that. All they had to do was give you life and however good or however bad it was, now it's up to YOU to make something of it.
See more »


Followed by A Madea Christmas (2013) See more »


Bridal March
Written by Richard Wagner
Arranged by Jay Weigel
Performed by Jay Weigel
Courtesy of Music of Melpomene (BMI)
Courtesy of Carondelet Music Group
See more »

User Reviews

"Super-Sized Stripper Smacks Spectator" – 'Madea Goes To Jail' Review
24 February 2009 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

I guess I should start off by admitting that I've never seen any of the previous Madea films, and that I went into this movie knowing nothing about it except that it's the latest in a long line of similar films which have gotten about the same public response as your average Steven Seagal movie. And that's not good, in case you're wondering. That's okay though, because during the opening credits we see various headlines zooming across the screen, like "Super-Sized Stripper Smacks Spectator," and we get the general idea. Madea has always been a problem for the police, she has a rap sheet a mile long and doesn't feel any need to change her behavior.

The movie comes dangerously close to being another one of those intolerable comedies where Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence star as every character in the movie. Madea's family are clearly meant to resemble the Klumps, although I would be lying if I said that they were not entertaining. Uncle Joe in particular is a goofy caricature, but he's a hilarious one.

The problem with the movie is that it tries to be two very different kinds of films, and it succeeds in being those two kinds of films, but the combination of the two styles kills this one completely. Half the movie is a light-hearted comedy in the vein of the Nutty Professors and Big Momma's House, but the other half of the film is a very serious drama that deals effectively with very serious issues. Life Is Beautiful is the only movie I've ever seen that really succeeds brilliantly at this story-telling technique, but that movie worked because it tied the two genres together. Life also comes close. This one, on the other hand, just throws the two halves in the same room and then sits back while they sit there not working.

Dr. Phil makes a surprisingly hilarious cameo as a therapist that tries in vain to get Madae to admit that she has an anger management problem, which ultimately lands her in jail. Meanwhile, Josh Hardaway, the Assistant District Attorney, is experiencing a wonderfully developing career, until he meets Candace, a childhood friend who has fallen into a desperate situation after years of drugs and prostitution. He tries as hard as he can to help her despite the hysterical and ridiculous whining of his horrid fiancé.

This is one of the worst parts of the movie, by the way. There is nothing worse than a romantic comedy that pits two suitors (male or female) against each other for the love of the main character, when one of the suitors is clearly tailor made to be the right choice and the other is an intolerable jerk-off. See 27 Dresses and you'll know what I mean. Josh's fiancé in this movie is unfortunately such a nagging, conniving wench that it's impossible to have any feelings towards her other than animosity. This is not a good start for a movie whose story is driven by the characters. Almost from the moment she enters the movie I was just waiting for Josh to come to his senses and boot her to the curb where she belongs.

The issues of prostitution and drugs and drugs are taken very seriously, there's even a pretty intensely emotional scene involving one of the key male characters, who breaks down completely under the weight of a tragic event for which he has never been able to forgive himself. The acting is superb in this scene, but it is genuinely bizarre when Madea shows up again and we realize what the rest of the movie is like.

It's impossible to tell if this is supposed to be a comedy or a drama, because both elements are done fairly well but they simply don't work when put together. I don't need my movies to be categorized, in fact I am pleasantly surprised when films cleverly bend genres, but this one gives us one character with a truly frightening history of drugs and prostitution and another character who lifts a car up on giant forklifts and then drops it 30 feet onto the pavement when a callous owner steals her spot at K-Mart.

Ultimately Madea and Candace get locked up in the same prison, and the two stories attempt in vain to come together. I won't say that all of the character are utterly uninteresting, although there are several points where a stupendous lack of screen writing ability is made abundantly clear. Consider this exchange between Candace and her new cell-mate, who happens to be one of her old, close friends –

Candace: "You look good." Cellmate: "Yeah, I'm doin' good. How you doin'?"

Are you serious? I'm doin' good? How you doin'? Is this an inside joke? You're both in prison! Who says they're doin' good or asks someone else how they're doin' when both of them are in prison?

But maybe I'm nitpicking. There are moments of fun in the movie, there are a few laugh out loud moments, and there are some moments of pretty impressive acting, but the movie as a whole, unfortunately, adds up to something much, much less than the sum of its parts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

20 February 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,030,947, 22 February 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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