Attractive college co-ed Casey (Odette Yustman) finds herself the target of the diabolical Dybbuk a spirit which has bided its time since her birth to make its nefarious presence known. Is it perhaps a manifestation of her twin brother who died in the womb all those years ago? Since dear old Dad (James Remar) is away on business -- seemingly for the entire length of the movie -- concerned Casey seeks answers from Sofi Kozma (Jane Alexander) a survivor of the Holocaust who may hold the key to Casey’s past. Needless to say those to whom Casey confides her fears often find themselves in danger of being offed in gruesome fashion. (Misery may love company but the Dybbuk doesn’t.) In a last-ditch effort to rid herself of the evil spirit Casey turns to Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman) who finally agrees to perform an exorcism after he too sees the signs. Aside from acting terrified (and looking good doing it) Yustman (Cloverfield) is totally at the mercy of the story which shows little mercy when it comes to providing any concrete (or even shaky) answers to the questions it raises. She’s attractive but there’s not much else to the character. As Casey’s respective boyfriend and best friend Cam Gigandet (Twilight) and Meagan Good (Saw V) are merely functionaries offering the typical mixture of skepticism and support before learning for themselves -- too late of course! -- that maybe Casey’s suspicions have validity. Adding a (misplaced?) touch of class to the proceedings are Oldman who doesn’t embarrass himself and Alexander who isn’t so fortunate. It’s also a wonder why Carla Gugino seen occasionally in flashback as Casey’s deceased mother even bothered. It’s a nothing role which might explain why the actress has no billing other than in the end credits. There’s no question that writer/director David S. Goyer has a deep love and appreciation for horror and science-fiction given his previous credits which include the scripts for Dark City Blade and The Dark Knight but as a director his work (which includes Blade: Trinity and last year’s The Invisible) leaves much to be desired. There are some good ideas here and some individual scenes are reasonably effective but the parts don’t add up to a satisfactory whole. The Unborn suffers from a botched delivery.
Crime has always come naturally to John Lyshitski (Dax Shepard). As a young boy he stole the Publishers Clearing House truck and tried to cash the check inside--and the list goes on. For each crime the same judge hands down the verdict and becomes No. 1 on Lyshitski’s s**t list. Following release from his latest stint in the slammer Lyshitski seeks to finally act on his hatred for the judge only to learn that he died just days ago--but his son Nelson Biederman IV (Will Arnett) is free. Wealthy and bratty Biederman is the kind of guy anyone would love to hate and John exacts revenge on him. Getting him thrown in the can is the easy part but John wants to actually witness and take part in Nelson’s prison hazing. So with relative ease and indifference he intentionally gets himself thrown in prison for selling pot and shacks up with Nelson. Now he gets to give him “the full treatment.” For Shepard and Arnett admission into the fabled “Frat Pack” (whose ever-expanding alumni include Vince Vaughn Owen and Luke Wilson and Will Ferrell) is still a ways away but Prison is a good cred builder. Shepard (Employee of the Month TV’s Punk’d) might be a minor hit away from becoming a star. He has a natural knack for comedy but also has shown great variation from role to role. In Prison his impassivity towards incarceration and its goings-on is funny but this is still not the vehicle to transport him to “breakout” stardom. Arnett has more work to do. His brand of comedy is more dry i.e. his late great Gob on Arrested Development. The more overt comedy in Prison Arnett's biggest film role to date doesn’t always work but that’s not to say he doesn’t provide hilarity. Chi McBride (TV’s Boston Public) sheds his shirt for laughs as rotund inmate Barry. Dylan Baker (Happiness) is funnily sadistic as the warden and David Koechner himself a “Frat Pack” fringester is zany as usual. Adapted loosely from Jim Hogshire’s cult book You Are Going to Prison the film doesn’t always successfully translate. But it occasionally makes up for its comedic misfires by being funny in unexpected ways. For that we can thank director Bob Odenkirk--who also has a small role in the film--a man who’s given us underappreciated shock humor for years (and by “shock” we mean the kind that sneaks up on you not the Borat kind). The co-star and -creator of HBO’s beloved Mr. Show--along with the equally outlandish David Cross--Odenkirk is never satisfied with the straightforward stuff and often swings for the fences. Sometimes he misses but when it’s funny it’s hilarious! Such is the case with Let's Go to Prison (and he re-teams with Arnett on next year’s The Brothers Solomon) which is stupid-funny in a way that might turn it into a cult hit upon DVD release.