"Madea Goes to Jail" stars Tyler Perry (of course), Keshia Knight-Pulliam, cocoa-hotness Derek Luke and Viola Davis. This is not a typical Madea movie. Most of the film's first half is a bit dark and not funny because it focuses on Candace Washington (Knight-Pulliam), a drug addicted prostitute/college dropout. Yes, Rudy Huxtable is playing a crack hooker, but she does a good job in the role. Don't take kids to see this movie. There are scenes where Candace is on the street picking up Johns, having sex and experiencing drug withdrawal shakes. It's sad. Assistant District Attorney Joshua Hardaway (Luke) is Candace's childhood friend who sees her in court after years of no contact and tries to help her get off the streets. But Josh's fiance and colleague Linda Holmes (Ion Overman) is prosecuting Candace's case and she's not down with Josh reaching out to the troubled girl.
There are two parallel storylines. First Candace, then Madea's denial about her anger management problems. Madea was sprinkled in the first half of the film but she's shown more in the second half. That's when the scenes get really funny and the two storylines intersect. The cameo appearances by celebrities were funny too. I won't name the celebs and spoil it for you.
Viola Davis portrays a tough minister who counsels prostitutes. I loved her character, she didn't take any mess. I wanted to see more Madea because I came to the movie with the expectation to laugh a lot. There was so much focus on the prostitute character in the first half of the movie that Tyler Perry could've made the film without Madea. It took too long for the storylines to cross. But Perry delving into this story about the prostitute proves that he can write dramas. I know people love his comedy but I would like to see him produce a drama. No funny lines, just straight -up, serious drama.