Ernest Goes to Jail
is a 1990 American comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III and starring Jim Varney. It's the third (technically fourth) film to feature the character Ernest P. Worrell
Ernest is a janitor at the Howard County Bank and Trust only kept at his job out of sympathy. He also looks exactly like death row inmate Felix Nash. During a tour of the prison Nash is kept in after Ernest is called to jury duty, Nash kidnaps Ernest and switches places with him.
Now Nash attempts to assume the life of Ernest P. Worrell while Ernest, confused for Felix Nash, is only days from the electric chair. Can Ernest escape from prison and stop his nefarious doppelganger?
- Acting for Two: Jim Varney plays both Ernest P. Worrell and Felix Nash.
- Artistic License - Gun Safety / Reckless Gun Usage: When the two security guards show off the new security system, they demonstrate it by shooting at the bulletproof glass, with one of the bank managers standing behind it.
- Bad Boss: Oscar Pendlesmythe, an obnoxious, rude and arrogant bank manager. It makes it a bit satisfying when Nash, as Ernest, destroys his prized golf trophy.
- Big Damn Heroes: After Ernest gets knocked out by Nash during the climax, Bobby suddenly shows up and manages to win a Quick Draw against him. Unfortunately, some police guard dogs proceed to trample him.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: In this movie, Ernest becomes magnetic whenever given an electric shock.
- Chekhov's Gun: The various forms of security Chuck and Bobby test out on their boss.
- Disney Death: Ernest during the climax. Twice.
- The Dragon: Ruben is this for Nash, Lyle is this for Ruben.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Rimshot is able to tell Ernest apart from Nash.
- Heel-Face Turn: Lyle.
- Although Lyle eventually turns on Ruben and helps Ernest escape, Lyle has obviously become acclimated to prison life, turning down Ernest's offer to come with him, saying he has no place in society and that prison is, indeed, where he belongs.
- Home Madeinventions: Ernest has a Rube Goldberg-esque way of turning on his TV, he also bathes in a modified washing machine, and dries off using a car-wash grade blow-dryer.
- I Don't Want to Die: Upon discovering that Nash is on death row, Ernest begins having a breakdown that continues to get worse, until the scheduled day of execution comes up and he's now a crying wreck, even saying this word for word.
- Jerk Ass: Oscar Pendlesmythe.
- Knight of Cerebus: Nash is a convicted robber and murderer played straight in an Ernest film. He's a far cry from Dr. Otto.
- Nice Hat: Ernest's brown cap. That Felix often doesn't wear it when impersonating Ernest is an omen that things aren't what they seem.
- Even though Felix never wore a cap in prison, somehow Ernest ends up with a prison-themed version of his Nice Hat when in prison.
- Mr. Nash can be seen putting the prison variant on shortly before he trades places with Ernest.
- Oh Crap: Ernest when his "electro-man" powers wear off, right in the middle of being confronted by an angry Ruben.
- Properly Paranoid: Bobby is continuously suspicious of Nash while he's posing as Ernest.
- Real Men Wear Pink: After Nash switches places with Ernest, all of the prison guards suddenly wear pink uniforms.
- Rogue Juror: The single rogue juror was a result of jury tampering. Nash switched places with Ernest and managed to change the verdict.
- Rube Goldberg Device: Ernest has one in his home, activated by turning on a light switch.
- Selective Magnetism: Whenever Ernest is electrocuted.
- Slap Stick: Whenever Ernest gets shocked, but Nash also gets bumped by the Rube Goldberg Device frequently.
- Swapped Roles: Between Ernest and Felix Nash.
- The Voiceless: Lyle. Until the end, anyway.
- Wham Line: "Freeze punk! Make your play!" is this for Bobby, mainly because it's most he's ever spoken throughout the entire Ernest franchise.