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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the movie's overall messages of forgiveness and taking responsibility for your own actions are positive, there's a lot of questionable behavior in the film.
Positive Role Models
Madea is vengeful to the point of craziness, and characters lie, cheat, and betray one another.
Violence & Scariness
Some of the violence is cartoonish, like when Madea shoves police officers and resists arrest, or when she knocks out a burly woman in prison. But some of the other violence is disturbing, like when young prostitutes are physically abused by a pimp. Discussion of rape.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Three of the main characters are current or former prostitutes, and several "women of the night" are shown on the street picking up tricks. In one scene, a prostitute is shown in bed (bare shoulders and legs) with a man in underwear sleeping on top of her. There are also discussions about life as a prostitute. Two couples kiss and embrace, while several characters flirt -- in the case of Joe and his bawdy elderly friends, pretty raunchily. A masculine woman prisoner comes on to a fellow prisoner.
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Language includes "bastard," "damn," "pimp," "hell," "t--ty," and "oh my god" used as an exclamation.
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Products & Purchases
Featured brands include Apple/Mac, Coca-Cola, Schweppes Ginger Ale, and Big K-Mart.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Joe smokes marijuana on a few occasions -- as a joint and also using a bong. At a party of mostly seniors, most attendees drink beer and other cocktails. Several characters smoke cigarettes, and there are many conversations about drug addiction and rehab.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like all of his Madea films, Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail alternates between comedy (the parts featuring the Madea character) and drama (a subplot featuring a prostitute). Violence is both comic (Madea resists arrest) and disturbing (a pimp abuses young prostitutes), and there are several sexual references -- to prostitution, prison romance, and more. Although the consumerism isn't too overt, there are many scenes of cigarette and marijuana smoke, as well as drinking. Language includes "hell," "damn," and the like. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Madea fans are a loyal bunch, and they're unlikely to be disappointed with the latest installment in Perry's franchise. Madea continues to "get" those who "got" her and gives lip to everyone from her poor, put-upon daughter to her raunchy brother Joe (also Perry) to Dr. Phil and Judge Mathis.
But those unfamiliar with Perry's films won't be converted into fans by this broad, heavy-handed comedy. The morality-play subplot in Madea Goes to Jail is particularly ridiculous. Although Luke is a fine actor and does his best as a well-meaning, generous man, Knight Pulliam (best known as little Rudy from The Cosby Show) isn't at all believable as a streetwalker. Supporting actresses Viola Davis and Vanessa Ferlito are both good as, respectively, a minister who dedicates herself to getting women off the street and a prostitute who looks out for Candy. But the Candy-Josh-Lisa love triangle is so predictable that the outcome loses its emotional punch.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate