Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So here’s my story. Eventually I’ll get around to talking about ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’. Maybe. It’s the weekend of my sons birthday which for the last few years has consisted of a movie and dinner at the Olive Garden. It’s what he wants so waddaygonnado. The birthday weekend also consistently falls on Super Bowl Sunday. The boy missed being born during Super Bowl 30 by two days which had me a little concerned at the time about where I should be if this unfortunate conflict was to take place. Anyway it’s up to the boy to choose a movie to watch for his birthday and he chooses ‘Hotel for Dogs’. I know it’s his birthday and all, but hell to no, we aren’t seeing that. Pick again. I suggested ‘Inkheart’ but he claims he read the book already and has no desire to see the movie. His mother chooses ‘Not Easily Broken’ and as such her opinion was no longer solicited. Eventually we settle on ‘Paul Blart’. We all seem to like ‘The King of Queens’ and we all think that Leah Remini is hot, or maybe that's just me - I can't remember, so off we go to watch ‘Paul Blart’ before eating some microscopic over priced Olive Garden portions but making it back home in time to see the Steelers and the Cardinals do what they do.

Kevin James assumes the role of Paul Blart, hard working Mall security officer who lives at home with his mom (Shirley Knight) and his young daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez). Paul dreams of being a New Jersey state trooper one day but alas his chronic hypoglycemia, which actually manifests itself as a form of narcolepsy, keeps Paul from completing his dream. Paul also dreams of finding love one day ever since Maya’s mom abandoned them, but as in his previous endeavors, Paul’s love cup is empty.

But Paul does have his job, one he takes deathly seriously, and his unicycle thingie that he rides, and he thinks he might also have a love connection in pretty mall hair extension vendor Amy (Jamaya Mays), that is until Paul screws it all up Romantic

Comedy style. Paul also has a flashlight wielding trainee in Veck (Keir O’Donnell) who seems to be channeling the ghost of Christian Slater for this particular role. So we get to watch Paul engage in series of mishaps and missteps to illustrate what a massive loser he is, until some parkour performing, extreme skate board riding, BMX peddling thugs seize the mall for reasons having something to do with getting paid and have also seized a bunch of hostages in the process, including Paul’s beloved Amy. Now Paul Blart has to stop being Paul Blart and become Joe Mannix and single handedly stop the criminals and save the girl. Even though I’m liking his chances to succeed, the question is will I be enjoying myself while watching Paul Blart do Joe Mannix?

If you don’t know who Joe Mannix is then might I suggest you stop wasting your time reading books, hanging out at art museums and studying for tests and get to watching more television. But to answer my own question, no… I really didn’t enjoy watching Paul Blart do his thing. Now the movie was pleasant enough, completely age appropriate being that there is virtually no profanity, certainly no nudity, all the violence is completely bloodless and A-team like and I do feel good leaving the theater not having to explain some weird adult situation to my son. Still… the movie really wasn’t all that funny. I mean the effort is there. This IS Kevin James we’re talking about here and he is one certifiably funny cat, but the majority of the funny bits I think you’ve seen already in the movie trailer. In between the occasional funny moment we get to witness Paul Blart make a fool of himself, which at times was a bit difficult to watch because K. James did create a very sympathetic character with the man, and we get to watch the occasional failed one-liner, some rather rudimentary action sequences and the always painfully predictable story arc.

But to be fair and offer full disclosure, and I have mentioned this situation before, but what I found occasionally mildly amusing the boy often found side splittingly, pop flying out your nose, running up and down aisles funny. I should also mention that there were times when he was the ONLY one laughing in a half full theater, even at the scenes he knew were coming because he saw them in the trailer just like the rest of America has, but still he thought the movie was great. He also laughed like this during ‘Meet Dave’ and ‘Norbit’ so I’m just saying is all I’m saying.

But who the hell cares what he thinks. I thought that ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ was a marginally entertaining, mildly amusing, very safe, very family friendly middle of the road movie watching event. Something you can take your mother-in-law to and not have her hate you anymore than she already does.

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