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Call the po po, ho!
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Madea Goes to Jail is a 2009 film by Tyler Perry reprising his role as Madea, the don't-mess-with-me matriarch who finds herself in jail after one too many entanglements with the law. Meanwhile, in the B-plot to the movie, a prostitute named Candace (Keshia Knight Pulliam) fatefully encounters Josh (Derek Luke), her best friend from college who now works as an assistant district attorney. Sympathizing with her plight, Josh endears himself to get to the bottom of how she ended up on the streets in an effort to relieve his guilt about his success. As the details unfold, The Reveal leads Candice back to the man truly meant for her and helps to get her off of the streets. With the help of her friend Donna (Vanessa Ferlitto), and Helen (Viola Davis), a serious Determinator of the Church, justice is eventually done.

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Tropes for Madea Goes to Jail:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Donna and Candace sport pretty wild hair colors while working the streets. Donna's crown and top layers are bleached blonde with brownish locks while Candace wears a fiery red wig.
    • Yes, we catch her fixing it in the mirror.
    • Interestingly, incarceration sobered their hair colors.
  • Alpha Bitch: Linda and her maid of honor Tonya.
  • Amoral Attorney: Linda. She ends up behind bars for padding charges in order to bump up her conviction rate. Revenge is sweet, indeed.
  • Ax-Crazy: Tee Tee, who killed eighteen men before she got sent to prison.
  • Berserk Button: Madea already has about a hundred of them, but three that show up in this movie are: Don't throw any parties when she's not home, don't ask her for some "me time" if you're Cora, and don't park in her favorite space at the grocery store.
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: Tee Tee, Madea's sugary sweet cell mate, who presents her with brownies as a "welcoming gift", has murdered at least eighteen men and claims to be the first female serial killer. Madea is noticeably freaked out when she learns this two minutes after meeting her.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Linda's got a secret to keep and threatens Chuck to pipe down.
  • Brawn Hilda: Played nearly straight with Big Sal, minus a foreign accent, and bonus point as the actress is Hellga. Looks, on the other hand, could go either way.
  • Broken Bird: Candace.
  • Butt-Monkey: Brown. And ironically, not Joe. He's much quieter in this film, but that's probably because Madea spends little time in her house and more so in the Big House.
  • The Cameo: And how!
    • Judge Mableam
    • Judge Mathis
    • Dr. Phil
    • The cast of The View
    • Steve Harvey
    • Rev. Al Sharpton
    • Tom Joyner
  • Catchphrase: "Call the po po, ho!"
  • Character Action Title
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: It takes practically the whole film up until The Reveal to play it straight though.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Chuck. He was initially seen as the weak-willed Henpecked Husband of Tonya and best friend of Josh, but he was the one who caught Linda padding Candy and other clients' files. Even though she blackmailed him into keeping quiet, he was eventually able to come clean about it and bring her down.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Linda, sort of. She tells on herself after witnessing Josh caring for Candace after she shoots up and winds up tweaking alone at their doorstep.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Brown. Just... sigh... Brown. Bless your heart.
    • Tee Tee also appears to be off her rocker.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Candace's family is nowhere to be found, though Chuck might have a lead on her brother's whereabouts.
  • Demoted to Extra: As mentioned above, Joe doesn't have much screen time in this film, due to Madea going to jail and whatnot.
  • Determinator / Badass Preacher:
    • Helen doesn't play! Her fiery attitude rivals Candace's easily from their first minute in introduction. Played quite saucier than a Good Shepherd, especially since she leaves her Bible at home, fraternizes easily with women on the streets, and tells Josh straight that he must be fully committed to help out a junkie.
    • Helen also makes it a habit of making sure girls like Candace and Donna use clean needles if they're going to use drugs.
  • Dirty Old Man: And Dirty Old Woman, a lot of the old people at the party at Madea's act very perverted.
  • Drugs Are Bad: And they tend to go hand in hand with prostitution. Perry's films tend to downplay or obscure heroin as "the stuff."
  • Exact Words:
    • In the beginning of the movie, Madea promises to go by the church. She meant that literally when Brian drove by the church and she said she went.
    • After Madea tows someone's car due to the owner taking her parking spot, the lady gets angry and demands that Madea puts her car down. Madea says "ok" and drops the lady's car down, but said car is flipped upside down instead.
  • Foreshadowing: "Ooh, 'that's' your fiancee? That'll 'never' work."
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: In jail, the some of the inmates participate in a class about forgiveness, and many of them insist on using their past traumas as reasons for being in jail. Madea scoffs at them for trying to play the victim, reminding them that they were in jail because of their own actions and that they should take responsibility for them instead of using past traumas to justify their own misdeeds. Candace in particular takes this lesson to heart.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: During the scene where Candace gets arrested for skipping court a prostitute can be heard in the background saying "What's going on baby, wanna fuck? Even the captions picked it up. Yet the movie is still rated PG-13note .
  • Groin Attack: Candace delivers one to the man Ellen partners with to get her found girls employed. Predictably, he opted for an unsolicited shoulder rub instead of a job offer.
  • Happy Dance: Madea performs a couple of these.
  • Heroic BSoD: Josh experiences one, of course.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Ironically, not the star protagonist, but her friend Donna.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Even though Linda's actions throughout the film were totally wrong and illegal and she deserved her ultimate fate, how would you feel if your fiancee became obsessed with an old friend of his, especially one that became a prostitute? Furthermore, her stance of not having to become a victim of your troubled upbringing should have carried more weight than the film gave it credit for (something that even Madea mentioned when she was in jail). It also helped that Candy was unwilling to be helped by Josh earlier in the film.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Although Madea's charges were trumped up, she still committed a real, potentially life-threatening felony that got her arrested in the first place, and resisted arrest when the police came for her. There's even a scene where she pulls an assault rifle on a group of unarmed party goers. By the end of the film not only does she get out of jail scot-free, but she becomes a media darling with celebrities admonishing the "broken" legal system for arresting an "innocent" woman.
    • Opinion on Madea's so-called innocence was actually divided, with a number of people, including Whoopi Goldberg on The View, trying to get others to realize that Madea had in fact committed the crimes she was arrested for even if her sentence was longer than it should've.
    • Donna's pimp who beats her and is implied to have raped Candy. He never faces any kind of punishment for his actions.
  • Manly Tears: Poor Josh cries these when he speaks to Ellen St. Matthews about the story of him accidentally leaving Candace at the party to get gang raped.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Heavily and painfully implied. To be fair, Josh's explanation doesn't help matters all that much.
  • Mugging the Monster: The lady who taunted Madea over taking a parking spot certainly did this. It turns into Bullying a Dragon when the lady realizes how crazy Madea is and still proceeds to get mouthy with her, despite the fact that Madea had the lady's car in her possession.
  • My Greatest Failure: It is revealed that when they were in college, Josh brought Candace to a party after his football buddies convinced him to. When he accidentally leaves Candace at the party, his buddies gang rape her, causing Josh much guilt afterwards.
  • Never My Fault: Lampshaded. One woman in jail blames her father for her actions and who she was. Madea calls her out on it and tells her to stop blaming her father for her actions.
  • Nice Guy: It becomes a flaw for Josh. He tries so hard to help Candice to the point it's causing his relationship with his fiancee Linda to be strained. He ends up being in the right at the end, though.
  • Oh, Crap!: Madea's reaction when she finds out Judge Mabeline isn't ruling on her case. The much tougher, Judge Mathis is.
  • Pacifist: Cora, especially when glancing at her What Would Jesus Do bracelet and much to Madea's chagrin. Subverted by proxy when Madea presses the accelerator in Cora's SUV and rams the Jerkass who cuts her off into a church sign.
  • Parking Payback: Madea's parking space is stolen by a snotty female driver. What does Madea do? She gets hold of a lifting crane, lifts the offending car into the air and out of the parking space, then unceremoniously drops the car onto the street for massive damage.
  • Product Placement: More noticeable in this movie than in others. Apple, Coca-Cola, K-Mart, and Schweppe's just to name a few.
  • Rape as Drama: Certainly for Candy regarding her past. One disturbing scene also heavily implies that she was again by Donna's pimp.
  • The Reveal: The audience finds out that Linda had been adding charges of otherwise dead cases to current ones, thus landing a number of clients in prison for much longer sentences. Upon finding out about this, Josh rats Linda out, leaves her at the altar, alerts the media, and prompts a formal investigation.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Madea goes to jail because of this technically. Though the trifle was slight — some rich, entitled Alpha Bitch cut off Madea to a parking space — I'd love to meet the troper who really feels sorry for that lady or her nice, shiny car.
  • Sassy Black Woman: This is a Tyler Perry movie, right?
  • Spoiled Brat: Josh uses this to describe Linda's upbringing.
  • The Stoner: Joe, though it supposedly helps his blood pressure.
  • Threat Backfire: Although Linda warned him to keep his mouth shut or she'll tell the head A.D.A. that he cheated on his bar exam to get his job, Chuck tells Josh that Linda falsified Candace's file to get her sent to prison and away from him. Josh tells everyone else in the church, including the head A.D.A., the Mayor and the Governor of his fiancé's actions.
  • Time Passes Montage: About six lapsed months of prison time.
  • Truth in Television: It's not really that surprising for Madea to become a media darling and her conviction overturned even if she technically has committed felonies and deserves to be jailed. The media does have a tendency to sensationalize criminal cases and even the worst offender can come out looking squeaky clean in the eyes of the public.
  • Villain Protagonist: Madea does some seriously messed up stuff in this movie.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted with Donna. After Candy was assaulted and raped by her pimp, we don't know what happened to her until she ultimately resurfaces as Candy's cellmate.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Candice gets chewed out by her cellmate for ignoring Josh's letters to her when he was trying to help her.
  • When Elders Attack: Should've the police expected this when arresting Madea.
  • You Never Did That for Me: Linda can't compete with Josh's faithfulness to his friend, his efforts to get her off the streets and shake off her drug addiction, to boot.
  • You're Insane!: Dr. Phil to Madea.


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