Saturday, February 14, 2009
441 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop review
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is a title with a movie attached to it. My vision of its inception involves a grass-filled private meeting room, the occupants including Kevin James and Adam Sandler, throwing out stupid ideas for their next surefire plague on cinema. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” one of them says, and a movie is born, for better or worse. They could make all sorts of films that way: “Stockholm McCloud: Celebrity Chiropractor.” “Tom Kaiser: Driver’s Ed. Instructor.” “James Frazier: Spectacularly Bored Freelance Film Critic.”
Paul Blart (Kevin James), if you haven’t guessed, is a mall security guard. His massive girth prevents him from becoming a New Jersey state police officer, so he settles for a job at the local megamall, chasing down shoplifters and belligerent customers on a Segway scooter. He has a crush on a hot kiosk girl (Jayma Mays) and raises a daughter (Raini Rodriguez) who is amazingly patient with her father’s personal shortcomings.
Fortunately for Blart, a group of armed robbers takes over his mall and holds all of the characters we’ve met thus far hostage, leaving him to single-handedly save the day. This is absurd, but less so when you consider the robbers, who have the gravitas of a tulip. Blart takes them out in predictably bumbling ways, such as falling on them and running into them with his Segway (this film plays a bit like a massive Segway ad). I’m thinking of a Hollywood advertisement: Wanted, Morbidly Obese Stuntman. Blart also makes use of the resources the mall has to offer, which I’m certain made him wish they’d put in a gun store.
The film does actually manage a few laughs. Unlike a lot of the other Happy Madison films (Adam Sandler’s movie company), this one isn’t obsessed with disgusting gags or intent on being cruel to the characters. Kevin James plays Blart as sweet and pleasant, not as a pure buffoon or object of ridicule. With this sort of film, it’s tempting to score it purely based on the title, but that’s why they actually make me see these things first.
2 out of 5
Posted by James at 2/14/2009 04:31:00 PM