...while Madea Goes to Jail is wholly watchable, it's also an uneven experience.
—Bill Gibron filmcritic.com
...if the movie is a mess, it's a purposeful mess, cannily, if not artfully, pushing all the right buttons to ensure Perry will be back for another round.
—Sam Adams Chicago Tribune
It's a tale soggy with the kind of race/class lessons that Madea, the director-star's battle-ax alter ego, doles out far more handily (and entertainingly) in a single church-lady-from-hell zinger.
—Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly
...a tone-deaf soap opera that'll make you get on your knees and beg for mercy.
—Natasha Vargas-Cooper E!
It's hard to call a man who performs so many jobs on a set lazy, but this is a lazy film. Its comedy is from the do-anything-for-a-laugh school, without even the polish of the Three Stooges, and the melodrama evolves from rote characters and cliched situations.
—Kirk Honeycutt Hollywood Reporter
...as one half of his film condemns the selfish and greedy, another gives a (literal) free pass to one utterly incapable of turning the other cheek, with nary an effort to reconcile these clashing caricatures and the frightening damage the latter wreaks on an innocently bystanding society at large.
—Rob Humanick Slant Magazine
...the law of diminishing returns catches up with the mega-successful multihyphenate in this wildly uneven effort...
—Joe Leydon Variety