[[caption-width-right:284:''"Like in real, really, really, really, really real prison? [[HurricaneOfEuphemisms The hoose-gow, the slammer, the joint, Alcatraz, San Quentin, Sing Sing??]] Oh no! I'm in... I'm in... [[BigWordShout jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaail!]]"'']]
'''''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 Film/ErnestPWorrell.

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?

* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety / RecklessGunUsage: 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.
** Not to mention, in that same scene, Bobby's pistol is clearly a revolver, and yet he manages to fire at least ten rounds in rapid succession without reloading.
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Ernest is taken to Death Row and then brought to the electric chair ''later that night.'' The average prisoner spends about ''fifteen years'' on Death Row before being executed.
* BadBoss: Oscar Pendlesmythe, an obnoxious, rude and arrogant bank manager. It makes it a bit satisfying when Nash, as Ernest, destroys his prized golf trophy.
* BigDamnHeroes: After Ernest gets knocked out by Nash during the climax, Bobby suddenly shows up and manages to win a QuickDraw against him. Unfortunately, some police guard dogs proceed to trample him.
* CharacterActionTitle
* ChekhovsBoomerang: In this movie, Ernest becomes magnetic whenever given an electric shock.
* ChekhovsGun: The various forms of security Chuck and Bobby test out on their boss.
* CriminalDoppelganger: Naturally, Felix Nash is one for Ernest.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Without a doubt the darkest of the ''Ernest'' films. Though it's all over-the-top and PlayedForLaughs, it still features subject matter such as bank robbery, murder, and the freaking ''death penalty.''
* DisneyDeath: Ernest during the climax. ''Twice''.
* TheDragon: Ruben is this for Nash, Lyle is this for Ruben.
* EvilDetectingDog: Rimshot is able to tell Ernest apart from Nash. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that Nash treats him pretty coldly the first time he meets him.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: Lyle.]]
** [[spoiler: 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.]]
* HomeMadeinventions: 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.
* {{Jerkass}}: Oscar Pendlesmythe. And Nash.
* KnightOfCerebus: Nash is a convicted robber and murderer played straight in an Ernest film. He's a far cry from [[LargeHam Dr.]] [[LaughablyEvil Otto]].
* MadeOfIron: Ernest survives electrocution at least four times, at least two of which would have been fatal to anyone else. He also survives a bomb blast at short range, as well as the long fall afterward.
* NiceHat: 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 NiceHat when in prison.
*** Mr. Nash can be seen putting the prison variant on shortly before he trades places with Ernest.
* OhCrap: Ernest when his "electro-man" powers wear off, right in the middle of being confronted by an angry Ruben.
* PoliceAreUseless: The police aren't especially helpful in this. Not only do prison guards utterly fail to notice how different in behavior Ernest is to Nash, but they end up making things worse when Nash holds up the bank, as the police dogs end up trampling Bobby right before he can defeat Nash.
* ProperlyParanoid: Bobby is continuously suspicious of Nash while he's posing as Ernest.
* RealMenWearPink: After Nash switches places with Ernest, all of the prison guards suddenly wear pink uniforms.
* RogueJuror: The single rogue juror was a result of jury tampering. Nash switched places with Ernest and managed to change the verdict.
* RubeGoldbergDevice: Ernest has one in his home, activated by turning on a light switch.
* SelectiveMagnetism: Whenever Ernest is electrocuted.
* ShockAndAwe: When Ernest gets the electric chair, he gets these powers in addition to his usual SelectiveMagnetism.
* SlapStick: Whenever Ernest gets shocked, but Nash also gets bumped by the RubeGoldbergDevice frequently.
* SwappedRoles: Between Ernest and Felix Nash.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: As Chuck and Bobby point their guns on Ernest, mistakenly the sounds of him trying to start a vacuum for a robber, Ernest just gives him a casual "hi, guys" without any concern.
* TheVoiceless: Lyle. [[spoiler: Until the end, anyway.]]
* WhamLine: "Freeze punk! Make your play!" is this for Bobby, mainly because it's most he's ever spoken throughout the entire Ernest franchise.
** "Let him go," spoken by [[spoiler: Lyle.]]