November 23, 2006

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Letís Go To Prison (R)
Just in time for the post-Christmas sales, Letís Go To Prison will probably hit video store shelves, as I donít expect it to last more than another week or so at the theater before it finds its natural home in the ď3 DVDs for $6Ē bin.

John Lyshitski (Dax Shepard) is a life-long participant in the criminal justice system, having gone up against the same judge three times in his life and each time getting harsher than necessary sentences that help to further his criminal desires. When he gets out for the third time, he decides to get back at the judge for making him endure the pain of prison. Unfortunately for John, the judge, Nelson Biederman the third, died not three days before he got out. Fortunately, the arrogant jerk that is Nelson Biederman IV (Will Arnett) is alive, kicking and just ripe for being screwed with. John follows him around and eventually hits karmic pay dirt when Nelson, in desperate need of an inhaler, rushes into a pharmacy and appears to rob it. Nelson is just as hated by the board members of his foundation as his father was by John. They decide to give Nelson the worst possible defense and ensure that he gets convicted. John, so tickled that Nelson will be incarcerated, decides to get a front row seat to his suffering and gets himself arrested so he can be Nelsonís cellmate.

Once on the inside, John gently nudges Nelson to get in all sorts of trouble, from getting beaten up by white supremacists to winning the romantic gaze of Barry (Chi McBride). His plan is to slowly drive Nelson insane but slowly, surprisingly Nelson finds a way to work the prison system, even earning the respect of the other prisoners. This causes John to look for even more extreme ways to ruin Nelsonís life.

Dax Shepard is measurably less annoying in this movie than he has been in recent films ó Employee of the Month, for example. He and Arnett even manage to have a sort of buddy chemistry that would have been critical to making the film work had any effort been put in to any other aspect of the movie. But it wasnít and the result is an hour and a half of stone cold, humor-free movie that gets only an occasional weak chuckle for its moldy, half-baked jokes. F

Rated R for language, sexual content, some violence and drug material. Directed by Bob Odenkirk and written by Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Michael Patrick Jann (based on a book by Jim Hogshire), Letís Go To Prison is 1 hour and 24 minutes long and is distributed by Universal Pictures in relatively wide release, at least for now.

ó Amy†Diaz