PG for some violence, mild crude and suggestive humor, and language.
Comedy, Crime / Gangster
Jan. 16, 2009
Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Raini Rodriguez, Adhir Kalyan, Jayma Mays
Kevin James and Nick Bakay
Sony Pictures Releasing
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Paul Blart: Mall Cop
By Belinda Elliott
- Paul Blart takes his job as a security “officer” (not security “guard”) very seriously. He has taken an oath (one he made up himself) to protect the New Jersey mall that he works in at all costs. When a group of thieves invade the mall, Blart makes it his mission to stop them.
After starring in the popular television sitcom King of Queens, then acting opposite of Wil Smith in Hitch, Kevin James has made a permanent spot for himself on Hollywood’s comedic landscape. Here he shines as the film’s leading man, as he should, since he developed the title character and co-wrote the script. The film relies heavily on slapstick comedy, with James tossing himself around like a heavy sack of potatoes.
James stars as Blart, a well-intentioned but somewhat inept, mall cop who aspires to be a state trooper. The problem is he suffers from hypoglycemia and frequently passes out without warning, making it impossible to pass the required test to be a police officer.
Things aren’t much better at home. He is a single dad, lives with his mother, and drowns his sorrows with food. “Peanut butter fills the cracks in the heart,” he proclaims as he spreads the high-fat goo onto a piece of pie. Desperate to find him a love interest, his mom and daughter sign him up on a matchmaking Web site. But the girl that has truly captured his heart is Amy, who sells hair extensions from a kiosk in the mall where he works.
Blart is going about his normal routine on Black Friday when a gang of thugs take over the mall. They are intent on stealing the profits from stores on the busiest shopping day of the year, and they take several hostages to use as bargaining chips with the local police. When Blart realizes Amy is among the group of hostages, he kicks into high gear to stop the thieves and save the day. The problem is Blart’s high gear is about as useful as his low gear since he isn’t trained for such situations and doesn’t carry a gun.
And these are not your run-of-the-mill thieves. The gang sprints through the mall at breakneck speeds on their bikes and skateboards, and they leap from floor to floor of the mall with lightning quick agility. All six actors are well known in the world of extreme sports. Two are famous skateboarders, two are record-holding BMX bikers, and two are expert free runners – athletes that run, climb, jump, flip, and perform other athletic feats without the use of any equipment. This makes for some dramatic action scenes with all the actors, including James, doing their own stunts.
Though the athletes are somewhat new to acting (but not to stunt work) their on-screen chemistry works well with James’ physical style of comedy. One would imagine this was probably a very fun movie to make.
The action on screen plays out much like a grown-up version of Home Alone with an adult playing the role of would-be hero rather than a child. There are steady laughs throughout and just enough minor plot twists to the keep the story moving.
Fans of funny man James, and comedies in general, will enjoy this movie. Perhaps the best thing about the film is that it is family-friendly. The film is rated PG and includes only two incidents of minor profanity and no nudity (though there is a scene where viewers see the back of a woman’s bra). Sexual innuendos are also kept at a minimum, and though there are a few fight scenes where James struggles with the bad guys, the violence is in no way graphic.
One scene does include characters drinking alcohol, but the film also vividly portrays some of the negative effects of it, like doing stupid things you will later regret for example.
If the chilly winter temperatures have you feeling a little down, check out Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It’s a fun filled pick-me-up.
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