PAUL BLART: MALL COP
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a single father working as a security officer in a New Jersey shopping mall. He spends his days trying to assert himself on his motorized scooter, but everyone thinks he is a bit of a joke. Except for his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez), who encourages him to look for a girlfriend. When he meets wide-eyed, beautiful Amy (Jayma Mays), who runs the Unbeweaveable Kiosk (selling hair pieces), he is smitten and quickly tries to impress her. But when the mall is taken over by a band of crooks, headed by Veck (Keir O'Donnell), and Amy is taken hostage, it is time for Paul to defy the odds and to try to save the day.
Review by Louise Keller:
In times of economic doom and gloom like these, it's not surprising that films like this formulaic escapist Hollywood comedy will find an audience. It's not a bad thing, either. The escape tactic nor the film, which, although juvenile, predictable and utterly forgettable, has an endearing central character in Kevin James.
James excels at playing likeable losers: remember how we rooted for him as the mild-mannered clumsy accountant with the crush on the leggy heiress in Hitch? It's basically the same deal here. James plays Paul Blart, an overweight, hypoglycemic mall cop who takes himself very seriously, but is ridiculed by the world at large. James wrote the script with Nick Bakay, and much of it is written and played for laughs. Like the stupid scene at American Joe's bar, where Paul is trying to impress pretty, Barbie-doll-like Amy (Jayma Mays), but gets caught up in a corn-chip eating contest. He sculls a couple of highball glasses filled from a nearby jug before realising (as a non drinker) he has just consumed more Margueritas than a practised authentic Mexican could manage.
But there's something likeable about James (and Paul) and we are always on his side - as he pursues the girl of his dreams, attempts to save the hostages and thwart Keir O'Donnell's villainous ringleader Veck in his attempts to steal $30 million. There are a few laughs and chuckles along the way and the idea of using acrobatic skateboarders, BMX bikers and runners as the baddies, leaping up and down escalators, stairwells and lifts in a single bound works a treat.
This is a film that delivers exactly what it promises. And for those looking for a low-brow comedy requiring zero concentration levels and a wish to escape from the big bad world, it might well fit the bill.
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PAUL BLART: MALL COP (PG)
CAST: Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez, Shirley Knight, Stephen Rannazzisi, Peter Gerety
PRODUCER: Doug Belgrad, Todd Garner, Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Jeff Sussman
DIRECTOR: Steve Carr
SCRIPT: Kevin James, Nick Bakay
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russ T. Alsobrook
EDITOR: Jeff Freeman
MUSIC: Waddy Wachtel
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Perry Andelin Blake
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 19, 2009