Paul Blart: Mall Cop poster

Paul Blart isn’t just a comedy it’s also a spoof. This time the Die Hard-genre is the target. You know: the movies in which one guy just so happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and has to take on an army of terrorists by himself. Mostly action heroes play these roles like Bruce Willis (Die Hard 1,2,3,4), Steven Seagal (Under Siege 1, 2), Jean-Claude van Damme (Sudden Death) and Sylvester Stallone (Cliffhanger). This time the target is a mall and the fly in the ointment is the “full figured” Kevin James as Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The story of one man and his Segway against a whole platoon of trained fighters in a shopping mall. Black Friday has never been so black.

Paul Blart is an overweight mall cop. He’s got a daughter out of a green card marriage and they live in with his mom. He never manages to complete the New Jersey State Police training test to become a state trooper due to a sensitive low blood sugar condition called hypoglycemia, which forces the mild-mannered Paul to depend on sugar sticks and candy to function on a daily basis. He does know how to handle a Segway like you’ve never seen before though. So he works in a Mall and Black Friday is coming up, next to that he’s got to show a new employee the tricks of the trade and takes a liking in a new kiosk owner in the mall: Amy.
Criminals have come up with a plan to take hostages and steal codes from credit card machines on this day. Among the hostages are Amy and Paul’s daughter. Paul, the only one in the mall still running free decides he is not going to let someone else take over his mall without putting up a fight. So it’s Paul and his Segway against an army of trained armed robbers on skates, bikes and skateboards.

The movie is an average comedy the first half. It’s got a lot of jokes making fun of the lead character and his incompetence. Some work, some fall flat. The movie shines in the second half, it takes some time before the robbers actually take over the mall but when they do Paul decides to fight back against these criminals, hilariously. Slapstick comedy with tons of references to action movies. Like John McClane Paul ends up in an air shaft and like John Rambo he has to stitch up his upper arm. OK, put a band-aid on scratch but still… The movie shines in the action scenes and it occurred to me that everybody can be an action hero. The sluggish Paul in the first half, transformed into a bad ass motherfucker in the second, convincingly I might add. With the right camera angles and lighting everything seems to be possible. Who said that the camera adds 10 pounds? Just fire the camera man and the director of photography because they’re not doing their job right.

On a serious note I liked how the movie demonstrated the American Way of living. Now it’s a big mall he’s got to monitor, but instead of doing everything on his Segway he could do everything by foot. Maybe than he wouldn’t be overweight.

Kevin James obviously wrote the movie with himself in mind. When you’re overweight not that many leading parts come along your way, unless you’re Steven Seagal. He succeeds in creating a character of flesh and blood who we can laugh at but never becomes the joke entirely. The supporting cast do their part, nobody excels. Jayma Mays as Amy was cute though. Keir O’Donnell has the Hans Gruber part but is no Alan Rickman. They might be thieves, but they’re not exceptional thieves. There’s a supporting role for a Segway. This movie might either destroy what ever reputation they have or become the next starvehicle in extreme sports.

In the end Paul Blart is your basic average comedy with an mediocre first and a good second half. If it’s on TV it’s not a waste of time, but I wouldn’t spend my money on it. And it’s always fun to spot references of course.

Paul Blart Screenshot
The harpoons; Man them.