Let's Go to Prison (2006)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Odd Couple Film, Prison Film  |   Release Date - Nov 17, 2006 (USA)  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Let's not and say we did. Actually, Bob Odenkirk's Let's Go to Prison could be a lot worse. Every "dropping the soap in the shower" prison cliché that ever existed gets aired out here, but that doesn't mean some aren't worth a smile, or even a burst of surprised laughter. What is a little strange is that we spend the whole movie sympathizing with the wrong guy. The protagonist/narrator is Dax Shepard's John Lyshitski, a three-time loser who opts for a fourth stint in prison to personally supervise the abuse of his newly identified nemesis, a trust fund baby (Will Arnett) whose judge father sent Lyshitski away. Nelson Biederman IV (Arnett) is indeed a jerk, screaming at subordinates and showing a general contempt for human sensitivity, but he's sent to jail after a miscommunication resulting from the panic of an asthma attack -- an attack that ensued after Lyshitski emptied his aspirator. One would think that would be vengeance enough, so when both are in prison together -- and when Arnett plays the character as genuinely scared and miserable, rather than the comic version thereof -- it's hard to take much pleasure in Lyshitski subjecting him to further misery. Yet Odenkirk manages to keep these scenes pretty light and amiable, going only as raunchy as needed for a good laugh, and then stopping. "A good laugh" is not just a turn of phrase -- there's probably only one really good laugh in there. But most of the jokes are at least not insulting, and the short running time passes easily enough. Playing fellow prisoners, Michael Shannon and Chi McBride outshine the leads -- Shannon as a neo-Nazi psychopath, McBride as a would-be enforcer who considers making someone his bitch a romance, complete with candles and the music of Chuck Mangione.