January 17, 2009
Review - " Paul Blart : Mall Cop " in Theaters) - By Roland Hansen
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“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (Sony Pictures)
Directed By: Steve Carr
Starring: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O'Donnell, Raini Rodriguez, Shirley
Kevin James has that everyman quality. People relate to him. After proving his
value as a sidekick to Will Smith in "Hitch" and Adam Sandler in "I Now
Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," James shows here he can also be a reliable
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a rent-a-cop at a North Jersey mall. He doesn't get
to carry a gun but he has a Segway to ride around on. Paul's ultimate dream is
to join the New Jersey State police force, but hypoglycemia has thus far
prevented him from completing the physically draining entrance exam. There's
another point of dissatisfaction in Paul's life: he's lonely and dreams of finding
Ms. Right, even though the on-line dating service in which his daughter (Raini
Rodriguez) has enrolled him keeps telling him "You have no matches." Paul
has his eye on Amy (Jayma Mays), the operator of a new kiosk at the mall, but
he lacks the gumption to approach her. Meanwhile, he has the task of training
a new security guard: Veck (Keir O'Donnell), who's only on duty because he
couldn't get accepted for any other job.
On Black Friday, however, Paul's life undergoes a radical change when terrorists take over the mall, locking the police out.
The only one in a position to help the hostages and apprehend the bad guys is Paul.
The PG rating assures that the violence will be limited and cartoonish. There's a nod to this when Paul, apparently injured,
peels back his shirtsleeve to reveal a tiny cut (upon which he places a childish band-aid). Would the film have been funnier
had it been more graphic? Perhaps, but the essential innocence of the proceedings defuses anything resembling tension.
Those who enjoy Paul Blart: Mall Cop will be watching purely for its comedic and satiric value, not because there's any
inherent interest in how the storylines will be resolved.
Kevin James possesses the Teddy Bear factor that served John Candy well. Like Candy, James is a big man and plays
characters with big hearts. He's a refreshing change from the Sandlers and Carreys who have dominated motion picture
comedies with their often mean-spirited antics over the past couple decades. And, unlike Will Ferrell, James isn't in a
perpetual state of arrested adolescence. He's a regular guy. That's his charm. Here, he's a schlub who deserves more out of
life but takes pride in the lowliest of jobs: being a mall security job. The term "loveable loser" was coined for this sort of
Kevin James is the most enjoyable factor of the success of “Paul Blart”. Bobby Cannavale, Mays, Keir O’Donnell and all the
rest of the actors involved support James and present him in the best light. James is the star and the reason the movie
Kids are going to love the chubby cop who saves the day,
and adults are going to laugh at the physical humor James
puts on display. I'm not going to claim that Paul Blart: Mall
Cop deserves placement on anyone's list of top films of all
time but there's a little more here than one might reasonably
expect and that makes it a passable choice for watching.
Kevin James as the avergae joe turned hero offers the
potential of a diverting 90 minutes. To the extent that this
is Paul Blart: Mall Cop's goal, it can be said to have
succeeded ....... in spades.