The Story: Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a mild mannered mall cop who dreams of being a real police officer. Unfortunately, mainly due to his weight, he can’t pass the test. His time at the mall is spent interacting with the various kiosk vendors, including a lovely wig girl (Jayma Mays). When a group of thieves take over the mall and hold hostage the members inside, it’s up to Paul Blart to save the day and protect the mall he loves.
Pros: What did I enjoy about Paul Blart? There is quite a bit of physical humor that is funny the first time around. The running over of the dog on the scooter, the band-aid and of course all the fat jokes at Kevin James’ expense. The first few times he falls down are funny. The side characters are also what make this movie more tolerable than it should be. The character of Pahud is very funny and Jayma Mays is also a highlight. I also must commend whoever decided the soundtrack should be 80’s theme. It might be a bit cliché now but hearing Bon Jovi and such always seems to be in the interest of the older people in the audience so I have to give some kudos. I would also recommend seeing the second half of the movie instead of the first. When the film focuses on the robbery is when there is the most action and adventure that makes up for the stupid story. If the film had been about a robbery in a mall it would have been a lot better.
Cons: Unfortunately if you are not under the age of 11 you will not enjoy Paul Blart. It seems the director just decided to take all the jokes that worked the first time they were made and then beat them into the ground. The scooter jokes are just remade endlessly with different objects and Kevin James spends more time sprawled on his face then on his feet; honestly the guy falls down so much I’m surprised he even made it to the mall. If you’ve seen any of the trailers you’ve essentially seen the movie as there is no surprises whatsoever. The fat jokes are probably the worst as it’s incredibly overdone to make James look so bad on his cop exam. The side characters are funnier than the main character which is always a problem and the first half of the movie is just painful. I also have to ask who crafted these villains because they’re so ridiculous. The main thug in the mall seems to be channeling Christian Slater to a T which is no a compliment and all the bad guys spend so much time hamming it up it becomes stupid. The first half of the movie just drags along to the point where I almost fell asleep. Maybe I’m not the target demographic for this movie, as evidenced by the room full of children I was in, but Paul Blart is painful to sit through.
Acting: Kevin James is funny in small doses, as evidenced by his work in Hitch. Here he seems to be trying to emulate the late Chris Farley or John Candy and it’s not working. Sure he’s a nice guy and all but he seems to be just reading the lines and doesn’t show any range aside from falling on his face or rocking a sweaty t-shirt. Jayma Mays is cute as Amy but she spends the majority of the movie making wide eyes. Bobby Cannavale is the weakest link as Commander Kent. He spends the whole movie overacting to the point he makes Al Pacino look like he’s returning to form.
Overall: I did not enjoy Paul Blart: Mall Cop and I’m willing to say it’s one of the worst movies of 2009, so far. If you have a young kid who wants to see this I’m sorry. Your kid will love it but you will be asleep before the previews start. I give it a paltry 2/5 mainly for the 80’s music.