Saturday, August 1, 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

Starring Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O'Donnell, et al
Rated PG, 91 minutes

When "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" came out in January 2009, it debuted number 1 at the box office to many's surprise. Looking over the weeks surrounding its release, there weren't a lot of strong debuts to contend with. Moviegoers already had a week or few to see the acclaimed movies on show, and thus "Mall Cop" could have a big debut.

After seeing it, I'm surprised it had two weeks of staying power.

Kevin James plays Paul Blart, a 10-year mall cop whose hypoglycemia keeps him from moving on to the state police force. Paul's training a new hire, Veck (O'Donnell), when a kiosk worker named Amy (Mays) catches his attention. He pursues her, but makes an ass of himself at a co-worker get together. Soon after, Veck and a band of thugs try to take over the mall. His gang evacuate the customers, and take Amy and five others hostage. Paul's been left behind. And he could be the only way Veck gets foiled, and his hostages run free.

Kevin James pours a lot into his role, which is weird considering it's largely a conduit for mall cop jokes. The movie was better when it was over the top ridiculous; particularly when Blart was fending off the criminals. The relationship stuff was really cheesy and fast. Even for screwball comedy standards. Paul's a lonely single parent! Amy loves Paul because he's an endearing doofus! Paul loves Amy because she's attractive! All in two minutes!

Former "Punk'd" cast member Stephen Rannazzisi
plays your typical asshole, and does a good job. If he gets more work out of this - all the better. Comedian Adam Ferrara played the police chief. I liked his stand-up, and was happy to see him here.


This clawed its way up to 3 stars. "Mall Cop" is pretty benign, and doesn't pretend to be more than what it is, so it's hard to hate it. It's likable enough, but not great.

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