Let's Go to Prison

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Let's Go to Prison
Lets Go to Prison.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bob Odenkirk
Produced by Marc Abraham
Matt Berenson
Paul Young
Written by Ben Garant
Thomas Lennon
Michael Patrick Jann
Starring Dax Shepard
Will Arnett
Chi McBride
David Koechner
Music by Alan Elliott
Cinematography Ramsey Nickell
Edited by Eric L. Beason
Denis Thorlaksen
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates
  • November 17, 2006 (2006-11-17)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4 million[1]
Box office $4,630,045

Let's Go to Prison is a 2006 American comedy film directed by Bob Odenkirk. It stars Dax Shepard, Will Arnett and Chi McBride. The film was loosely based on the non-fiction book, You Are Going to Prison by Jim Hogshire. It was released in theatres November 17, 2006.


John Lyshitski (Dax Shepard) has spent most of his life in prison, serving three different sentences. Each of his three trials were before Judge Nelson Biederman III, who habitually imposed unduly harsh sentences. After being released from his third sentence, John decides to take revenge on Biederman. John tries to determine when Biederman will be presiding over his next case, only to discover that Biederman died three days before John's release.

He turns his attention to the judge's brash son, Nelson Biederman IV (Will Arnett). At a dedication ceremony for Nelson III, John breaks into Nelson's BMW, trashing it and exhausting Nelson's emergency inhaler. After the ceremony, Nelson drives away and, finding his inhaler empty, panics and hyperventilates. He stops at a pharmacy and scrambles through the shelves, desperately seeking a replacement for the empty inhaler, which he finds and immediately opens to use. The pharmacy owners think he's a junkie seeking a fix. One owner mistakes the inhaler for a tiny pistol and calls the police.

Nelson is arrested and charged with assault and armed robbery. He demands that the Biederman Foundation do everything possible to have him acquitted. The board nearly complies with Nelson's demands, but, as they are tired of him and his attitude, they see an opportunity to get rid of him. They get him a poor defense lawyer for the trial. Nelson is found guilty and sentenced to three to five years. John, not satisfied with Nelson merely going to prison, decides to join him in prison by committing a crime. At his trial before the same judge Nelson had, John pleads guilty and asks for the same sentence (3–5 years) at the same prison that Nelson is in. He manages to become Nelson’s cellmate, pretends to be his friend, and gives Nelson wrong advice on surviving life in prison.

Nelson gets himself out of the many jams John's misinformation creates. He meets gang leader Barry (Chi McBride), a hulking, burly gay fellow who engages Nelson in a relationship. Despite his fearsome appearance, Barry is a romantic – he likes smooth jazz, he plies potential romantic partners with his finest toilet-made Merlot, and he has transformed his prison cell into a candle-lit, rose-bedecked passion parlor. Nelson first submits to being his partner out of fear, but then he genuinely grows fond of Barry and enjoys the relationship.

Nelson reaches his one-year parole hearing not only relatively unscathed, but the "top dog" in the prison hierarchy. However, John will not allow his target to escape prison so easily. He contrives to get Nelson's parole denied. Infuriated, Nelson confronts John who then confesses to putting Nelson in jail. The two get into a fight. John now realizes that he is now Nelson's target. The guards set up a death match between the two. However, John and Nelson secretly hatch a plan inject each other with a coma-inducing drug. The guards and prisoners, believing that they are dead, bury the pair in the graveyard. Nelson has given Barry access to funds to bribe the mortician to avoid an autopsy. Barry later digs up the two. John, Nelson and Barry start a new life, starting a winery (the product being "toilet wine"). The film ends with Nelson, Barry, and John now the best of friends.


Production notes[edit]

The defunct Joliet Prison in Joliet, Illinois used for the film is the same prison featured in the beginning of The Blues Brothers (1980) and the first season of the Fox show Prison Break (2005).

During the end credits, Barry sings a song called "Shower With U" (credited as "Barry's Love Theme" on the soundtrack) in which he repeatedly sings "I wanna take a shower with you".

The studio made significant alterations during the film's editing process that made Odenkirk unhappy with the final result (which also happened with the Mr. Show with Bob and David film, Run Ronnie Run, which Odenkirk wrote). According to writers Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's appearance on the Nerdist Podcast from August 23, 2011, changes included a happier ending, the removal of a sparse drums-only score recorded by Meg White of The White Stripes, and other alterations that made a significant change to the overall tone of the film.[2][3][4]


The film received mostly negative reviews, holding a 12% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 41 reviews. The consensus states: "Let's Go to Prison is guilty on all counts of cliched setups, base humor, and failure to ellicit laughs."[5] Metacritic gives it a score of 27 out of 100 sampled from 13 critics, signifying "generally unfavorable reviews".[6]

Box Office Mojo reports that the film opened in 11th place with a meagre take of $2,220,050. It closed with a domestic gross of $4,630,045.[7]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD March 6, 2007 with deleted scenes and an alternate ending.[8]

The Unrated version features pre-credits and post-credits scene features a real-life officer[citation needed] giving the details about the film.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Elliott, Alan (October 4, 2005). "Part 2: Meg White". Alan Elliott's official blog. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Worst Reviews" Staff (2006). "Let's Go To Prison" WorstPreviews.com. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Hutchinson, Sean (October 10, 2014). "15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About 'Let’s Go to Prison'", MentalFloss.com. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  5. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lets_go_to_prison/#
  6. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/lets-go-to-prison
  7. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=letsgotoprison.htm
  8. ^ http://www.movieweb.com/dvd/news/87/16687.php

External links[edit]