Movie Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)


Is Kevin James the heir apparent to Chris Farley? He’s funny and fat — the two major necessities needed to make that claim are in place. However, I’m not ready to hand the torch to him just yet, especially since I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of his last big screen outing (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry). But Paul Blart: Mall Cop may be just what is needed to set him on the path, after all, it has been proven scientifically impossible to not laugh at rent-a-cops.

He didn’t make it easy for himself though. You see, he and Happy Madison Productions decided to make Paul Blart: Mall Cop a family friendly comedy (James co-wrote the screenplay). No nonstop deluge of curse words that would make Richard Pryor roll over in his grave. No full frontal male nudity. They aimed for a good ‘ole fashioned comedy that pokes fun at a lovable sad sack (who just so happens to be a mall security guard) and that’s pretty much all that they got.

Of course putting him into a ridiculously stupid situation is always helpful too. James, as Paul Blart, finds he must rise above his demons when confronted with a band of X-Game style thieves that decide to rob various stores within the suburban shopping mall he is paid to protect. At first, his instinct is to run to safety, but when he learns his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) and the girl of his dreams Amy (Jayma Mays) are being held hostage, he figures to put to use the training he’s received from his many attempts at joining the NJ State Police. Armed with his Segway and a mall’s worth of armaments, he goes to battle — with some very funny and some very not so funny results.

Sadly, the not so funny scenes override the funny ones, two-to-one. For every fat guy nacho eating contest and misplaced “cool” Indian kid on the telephone scene there is a Rock Band scene in which he hilariously jams out and sings to the KISS classic, Detroit Rock City. I also couldn’t help but think that a relatively funny scene that finds Blart being discovered due to his belly rumblings (he apparently missed lunch) would have been better served had some high-pitched, squeaker farts been written in instead. Farts are clean humor, aren’t they?

But on some level, even the throw-away parts of Paul Blart: Mall Cop have some endearing quality to them thanks to the star of the movie. Kevin James, even in an underwhelming film, has a persona of a very likable guy and he challenges you to not like him. Go ahead and try. He forces you to root for the overweight guy, who has no social life and takes his menial job far too seriously without actually forcing you. I rooted for him and for his certainly doomed relationship (recall Annie in Speed remarked, “relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last”). I hope she was wrong.

So as much as I would have liked it to have been, Paul Blart is not Kevin James’ breakout role. Shortly after watching the movie, I was hard pressed to remember what I had seen. The torch still rests with Farley for the foreseeable future.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad

2

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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.


'Movie Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)' have 6 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 22, 2009 @ 8:37 am Andrei

    Thanks for this interesting movie, something different to all the other comedy i have seem, going to put it on the buy list now

    Reply

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 30, 2009 @ 3:41 am Zander The Movie Buff

    Nice review of the movie.I am sure that this will be a very good movie.Looking forward to watch this movie

    Reply

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 10, 2009 @ 3:34 pm Thornhill

    Kevin James is funny, just not in this movie.

    Reply

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 6, 2010 @ 5:39 am Dental Ed

    Kevin james acted well in this movie. Good comedy and overall worh watching it . Keep up the good job kevin hope you read this :-p…

    Reply

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 24, 2010 @ 10:37 am chacha

    As they say it is more difficult to create comedy than it is to create tragic movies. And to be a comedian and make others laugh is a greater achievement. The movie borders on slapstick. As you rightly put, it is impossible to not like the guy. Well do menial jobs exist? If one was to consider ones job menial and ignore it, can you imagine the chaos that would result? So, on that count I would disagree with you as even the most menial job has to be well done and taken seriously

    Reply

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 5, 2010 @ 4:42 am Petro Vasichkin

    As they say it is more difficult to create comedy than it is to create tragic movies. And to be a comedian and make others laugh is a greater achievement. The movie borders on slapstick. As you put, it is impossible to not like the guy.

    Reply


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