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Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

Reviewed on 2010 January 28

Family-friendly comedy that dragged on in the beginning like a trip to the dentist, pretty much undermining the funny stuff that started rolling towards the latter half.

Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a big guy with a big heart, who wants nothing more than to be a real cop. As it is he can’t quite pass the exam: he has hypoglycemia and keeps conking out. He takes his job as a security guard at a mall very, very seriously, largely because his life is otherwise empty. He loves his mom (Shirley Knight) and daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) very much, but he’s single. Some of the kiosk vendors at the mall appreciate his sweet nature, but he’d still like to share his Thanksgiving with a lady friend. Little does he know that on Black Friday, his routine is going to be uprooted by a gang of thieves.

I tend to get more irritated with stuff that doesn’t live up to its potential, and this could have been actually very funny if they hadn’t overdone the hypoglycemia jokes. The other problem was they made the Blart character a little too pathetic. It makes me nuts because I like Kevin James. He was just a sweet guy but clueless around his goddess in Hitch, and just a decent dude in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Here he was initially simply too pathetic. I think it would have been better to make him a skilled trainee just denied because of some arbitrary weight requirement than to peg him as such a screw-up, and the bar scene was just painful. The showdown scenes were good, I’ll give it that. I’m glad I waited to catch this thing on video, and I think I’ll do the same for the threatened sequel.

I know people say “it’s just a movie!” when they read things like this, and yes, it is. On the other hand, that’s how we get googolplexes clogged with remakes and stuff like Mall Cop II and Daddy Day Care XIVVIXUQ, instead of gems Dog Day Afternoon or Valkyrie to pick from on a Friday night. Would you rather use your $10 to see something like The Wrestler, or watch Kevin James wasting his talents snarfing a Pixy Stix®?

One chocolate morsel.



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