Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Not too many movies slip by me nowadays since Iíve been reviewing movies for Decode Magazine, as almost all of the new releases now matter how small and obscure or blockbustingly huge get released, unless the studio chooses not screen them, which they are doing at an increasing rate, I usually get a chance to see them.  Itís actually become a bit of a chore to be honest with you as itís way less trouble, with my super nice TV and Stereo surround, to watch movies in the comforts of my home as opposed to grabbing keys and looking for parking.  When ĎLetís go to Prisoní was released however long ago, it was one of those movies either the studio chose not to let get screened or I blew it off waiting for a bootleg.  Just Joking of course.  More than likely there was no screening because a movie with Will Arnett in it, who is funny simply by being alive, and Chi McBride playing a sexually assaulting inmate would be something that I wouldnít have minded looking for parking to see it for free.  Then the movie was released and generally panned so I wasnít too upset that I missed itís theatrical release, but I did catch on DVD the other day and allow me to say CRITICS BE DAMNED, because I thought ĎLetís Go to Prisoní was damned funny.

Dax Shepard is career criminal John Lyshitski who in true criminal fashion blames all of his life problems on the judge that he has always seemed to run up against for whatever crime he has committed, Judge Nelson Biederman III.  Now out of prison Lyshitski has decided itís time to make Biederman pay for the crimes heís committed against him, but just when heís decided kill the judge, it turns out heís dead.  Fortunately, Biederman III has begat Biederman IV (Arnett) who is a spoiled BMW driving, Fresca drinking asshole.  In a ridiculous series of pratfalls, Lyshitski manages to get Biederman tossed in the slammer for 3-5 for armed robbery and Biederman being the ass that he is, is unable to skate the crime he didnít commit.  Not content to let Biederman rot in jail without himself personally overseeing his demise, Lyshitski finds a way to get sent to jail as well.  Gotta love a wacky comedy.

In prison, the erudite blue blood who is desperate for guidance is befriended by the duplicitous Lyshitski who sets him up for failure, pain and suffering at every possible corner, including selling his virgin ass to violent prison lothario Barry (McBride) who takes it slow with his new man by just doing Eskimo kisses.  It was just as disturbing to watch as it was to type I might add.  Through more ridiculous circumstance, Biederman finds himself king of the Aryan Knights and thus king of the yard, much to Lyshitskiís dismay who really needs this guy to die a horrible death, and soon.  Biederman eventually discovers his cellmateís true nature as more mayhem and hilarity ensue with a knife fight to the death.  You canít beat that with a stick now can you?

There was genius here in ĎLetís go to prisoní which was part comedy and part, dare I say it, Love Story?  Donít be surprised if this shows up on the LOGO channel in the near future.  Yes, there was a lot of over the top broad comedy as directed by comedy veteran Bob Odenkirk, which included punches to the face, knives to the thigh and overt prison rape jokes Ė and I understand reading that description might not seem to terribly funny Ė but there was a lot of subtle dry wit to found in this film as well.  How can you not laugh when little Timmy reads a profanity letter from his prison pen-pal Nelson Biederman IV?  Okay, so thatĎs not very subtle but there was subtlety in that scene none-the-less.  The problem with subtle dry humor is you have to recognize it as such or it will be completely lost on you and youíre going think a movie sucks when in actuality itís a laugh a minute festival of humor.  All of the actors pretty much played this thing straight, including Chi McBride as Barry, and they allowed the humor to stem from them playing this ridiculous situation as if was real which lent itself to some fine humorous moments.  Iíd be remiss not mentioning David Koechner who tends to be dryly funny in everything he show up in, and Dylan Baker as the Warden who is about as dry as they come. 

I liked ĎLetís go to Prisoní and certainly thought it was of the funnier movies Iíve seen this year, which might not be saying much.  Hell, it was way funnier than ĎDelta Farceí which treated its audience as lobotomized mental ward patients.  Highly recommended.

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