Paul Blart: Mall Cop Directed by: Steve Carr Cast: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O'Donnell Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: PG
Plot: Heavily devoted mall cop Paul Blart (James), faces his greatest challenge yet when a group of skater punks take hostages and attempt to rob all of the stores in the shopping center.
Who’s It For? For citizens of northeastern Massachusetts, this will be the biggest bee's knees of movies since The Departed. At the same time, Mall Cop is for anyone who thought Norbit was the funniest movie since The Nutty Professor.
Expectations: The primary shooting location of the Burlington Mall is only fifteen minutes from my house, so there was definitely a personal connection. And it's logically silly to expect almost anything good of a mid-January release, but surprises are always welcome - year round.
Kevin James as Paul Blart: James has created his own version of a proud fat loser that shouldn't be played by anyone, not even the lowest of jesters like Larry the Cable Guy. The movie is strangely compelled to point out Blart's duty-disrupting problem of hypoglycemia, as if that explanation completely excuses his character from having a reasonable body mass index. Although he's a nice guy, he's the bumbling clown ridiculed by the audience's laughter. But throughout my experience with Mall Cop I was bugged by the all-important question: is it a coincidence that "Blart" rhymes with "fart"? Score: 2
Jayma Mays as Amy: She operates a hair extension kiosk called "Unbeweavable," but truly exists as Blart's (irrational) love interest. As much as she is useless, it's hard to hate on such a plastic character when we all know her real purpose is to just look pretty. At the least, she does that well. Thank you Jayma Mays for being a bubbly, strawberry blonde light within the horrible darkness that is Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Score: 5
Keir O'Donnell as Veck Sims: Spoiling the smallest parts of even the tiniest of movies is no fun, but here is an exception. This mall cop trainee turns out to be the leader of the evil skating gang, but Veck and his cronies are not villains. Instead, they're more like aggressive, exaggerated mallrats. They're basically obnoxious high school drop-outs who quit their jobs at the record store so they would have time to knock over a giant, money-devouring mall. Shopping on Black Friday is more terrifying. Score: 2
Talking: The dialogue is silly, but not horrible enough to warrant some type of witch-hunt. So spoiling the one line I thought was amusing would be a disservice to those prepared to suffer Blart, or at least those who like to be surprised. (James says it in the Rainforest Cafe). Score: 3
Sights: Though I can't vouch for what footage was filmed in Braintree, Massachusetts, I can say that a lot of the Burlington Mall was used. The food court, the back parking lot, many parts of the interior are all seen. When shooting last summer, Blart dressed the mall up to look like Christmastime, which was considered a bit ridiculous. However, seeing the Rainforest Cafe that I once got dumped at blown up can be described as nothing other than sweet revenge. Score: 7
Sounds: Another modern comedy with an 80's soundtrack. It was funny maybe 18 movies ago, but now some songs are so overplayed you expect them to start skipping. This is not a slight to Eddie Money, Survivor, or even Bon Jovi. Thankfully, the latter's biggest offender, "Living on a Prayer," is not in the movie, despite its presence in the trailer. Score: 3
Best Scene: When asked his demands, the group leader sarcastically remarks he wants a Happy Meal. One of the hostages asks a funny question about it, but I won't spoil it since it's the only other time I possibly laughed for the entire 90 minutes.
Ending: Things that you would most likely expect from something so formulaic happen, and then the credits roll. With respect to those going to see Blart, no matter how bad it is, I wish there was a way to be even more vague than that.
Questions: How old is Amy anyway...eleventeen?
Rewatchability: Maybe once more, just to make sure I'm not an extra, standing in the background of this mess.
Paul Blart purges on its "run, fat man, run" humor, which distracts from any type of sincerity intended with its loving father and devoted employee of a character. That being said, with such glutton-based jokes the movie only offers the most exhausted and predictable material possible. Of course Blart is going to run into a glass door and not break it, and it's even more of a no-brainer that he'll use a Hello Kitty band-aid when tending to a tiny wound. There's a whole list of expected jokes, and Blart proudly checks every single one of them off.
Jokes aside, even as a film, Paul Blart barely keeps it together. The last twenty minutes are marred by a serious lack of cohesion - in one scene, Blart is trying to rescue hostages, and in the next is suddenly midway through helping them escape.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop is basically brand names and obesity. Isn't this the kind of movie that Wall-E warned us about?
Final Score: 2/10