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Review: Let’s Go to Prison (2006)

Let’s Go to Prison (2006)

Directed by: Bob Odenkirk

Premise: An ex-con (Dax Shepard), frames the son (Will Arnett) of the judge who sentenced him to prison, and then follows him to prison to observe the yuppie’s destruction. While inside, the tables are turned when the innocent man acclimates to prison life.

What Works: The opening act of the film is smart and funny. Shepard demonstrates a lot of talent, and has a great sense for comic delivery.

What Doesn’t: Despite its promising opening, Let’s Go to Prison is not very funny. The film quickly disintegrates into tired rape jokes and other prison clichés that lack irony or audacity. Rather than go all the way with its possible gross out humor, the film hovers just above it, keeping all of the potential laughs at bay. At the same time, the film drops hints of an intelligence and wit akin to Thank You For Smoking, but it never more than scratches the surface. The film could have worked as a farce on the prison system or a lampoon of serious prison films, and there are certainly moments that indicate that this is what the filmmakers had in mind, but Let’s Go to Prison does not possess the wit or focus to make that happen.

Bottom Line: Let’s Go to Prison is largely a bore. It is not very funny and has nothing to say about the prison system. Where Accepted, another flawed concept comedy released earlier this year, at least had some intelligence and a perspective on higher education, Let’s Go to Prison fails at carrying out its concept.

Episode: #119 (November 26, 2006)