Kevin James, who made a fairly impressive starring role debut alongside of Will Smith in the movie “Hitch” has returned to be the title character in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” This slapstick comedy gets most of its laughs from goofy behavior rather than witty dialogue; therefore it is important to know what to expect before viewing this movie. I watched it thinking that it would have a simple plot, funny action sequences, and a far fetched story line. Knowing all this going in helped me to sit back and enjoy this flick.
As I mentioned before, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” has a very simple plot. We first meet Blart as he is successfully completing his police academy training for West Orange, New Jersey but falls short (and asleep) due to his hypoglycemia. Paul Blart is a single father who lives with his mom and pre-teen daughter, both of which want there to be a Mrs. Blart. He spends his days riding around on a Segway while trying to enforce what little authority he has at the West Orange Mall. On the biggest day of retail, Black Friday, the mall is taken over by a group of athletically gifted miscreants varying in abilities from skateboarding, biking, and parkour running. Their leader has infiltrated the security team at the mall and began working there as Blart’s trainee. The last half of the movie basically consists of Blart taking on the role of hero to save the hostages of which includes his daughter and dream girl. He does this be taking out one bad guy at a time to hide them from their leader because they contain secret credit card codes written on their arms that he is after. (If that sounds confusing, don’t worry, it didn’t make much sense in the movie either)
Kevin James does a fine job of holding the screen by himself at times and saving this movie from being terrible. What audiences will like most about this hero is that he is an average struggling American, unhappy about his job, his weight, and his love life, or lack thereof. I enjoyed the film because it has been a long time since I’ve watched a comedy that was void of language, bathroom humor, and sex. I feel that because of its light nature, kids are going to walk out loving the film while adults and parents will just like it a little.
It is worth it to mention that there are some pretty nontraditional action sequences in this cliche hostage story. The villains who take over the mall use their extreme sports talent (biking, skateboarding, and parkou running) to help them find Paul Blart. There are some great scenes of cat and mouse involving Kevin James on a Segway trying to escape professional skateboarder Mike Vallely who plays one of the thieves.
Even though I enjoy Kevin James and his comedy, I feel this movie could have done so much more, mainly, make me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, it was funny at times, but when a movie’s plot is this bogus and far-fetched, it helps if there is a lot more laughter to legitimize its existence. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, a simple family slapstick comedy that did a satisfactory job of keeping my attention and making me laugh every once and a while. I would recommend “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” to anybody under the age of twelve, or any adult who would like a simple slapstick comedy with the likable hero, Kevin James.