Rating: 1.5 stars
Paul Blart: Mall Cop would’ve made a nice digital short. The story of an out-of-shape, over zealous mall cop (Kevin James) who takes down a band of criminals, Die-Hard-style has a few laughs. It’s funny when Blart runs after the bad guys and falls over for no apparent reason. It’s funny when he acts like he’s been badly hurt, but it’s just a tiny scratch (which he promptly covers with a Hello Kitty band-aid). It’s really funny when he charges into the bank where the hostages are being held, but first dutifully weaves his way through the bank line barrier posts. And . . . that’s about it.
Instead, they tried to make a whole movie about this guy, figuring that the more pathetic Blart was, the funnier his heroism would be. Bad call.
The first 30 minutes of Paul Blart: Mall Cop are actually painful to sit through. They filled me with existential dread. I don’t think executive producer Adam Sandler and co. were going for existential dread when they created the movie, but maybe that’s where I’m wrong.
How much of a loser is Blart? His ex-wife married him to get citizenship (Blart thought they were in love), got pregnant, and left him with the child. Oh yeah, the ex wife is obese, so is Blart, and so is their teenage daughter. He lives with his mother, and his only comfort in life is food (he slathers peanut butter on his blueberry pie). He’s got one of those little, out-of-style mustaches that are a movie shorthand for “this guy’s a loser.” His co-workers endlessly mock him. He can’t pass the police officer’s exam because he has hypoglycemia.
Is Edvard Munch’s "The Scream" flashing before your eyes yet? Because it sure was flashing before mine.
But fear not, Blart may be the biggest schnook in the history of cinema, but the improbably hot girl (Anna Faris lookalike Jayma Mays) who works at the mall hair extensions stand has eyes for him. Because who wouldn’t want to date this guy?
As mentioned, once the baddies take over the mall there are a few good moments. Eventually, Blart just becomes tiresome. The film had me longing for The King of Queens. Yeah, it’s that bad.