Review of Paul Blart: Mall Cop

May 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Movie Reviews

Review by Zach Becker

Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a film at odds with itself. It almost seems as if they wrote part of an offbeat romance comedy, then decided they’d rather make a comedic version of Die Hard. The first part works, but the second half just falls flat.

The first half of the movie details the life of awkward, shy, dorky and overweight single parent Paul Blart (Kevin James). His profession; Mall Cop. Yeah, he is one of those wannabe police officers who ride through the mall on Segways (a major star of this film). He tried to get on the police force, but failed the test because his hypoglycemia causes him to pass out at inopportune times if he doesn’t get enough sugar (they go to this well for comic relief frequently). But Blart takes his job as a mall security guard very seriously, even if his co-workers do not.

The man lives with his mother, who helps take care of his daughter. His ex-wife married him for a green card and then took off, leaving Blart with their daughter. He’s lonely and looking for companionship.

And then, cruising with his Segway through the mall (after getting beat up by an angry fat woman at Victoria’s Secret), he meets the mall’s hair extension vendor, Amy (Jayma Mays), also a very odd and off-beat person. It seems to be love at first site.

It is fun to see how Blart tries to woo Amy. We get to watch as he escorts Amy to her car on his Segway (it could get him fired), as he cites completely random facts, as he gets into an eating contest with another fat guy, and as he accidentally gets drunk, makes a fool of himself and ends up falling through a window, ruining their first date.

The set up was there for an entertaining second half of the film as the two fall in love and live happily ever after. It would have made for a quirky, sugary romantic comedy, with a bit of slapstick thrown in for good measure.

But then the Mall Terrorists come into play and the film takes an entirely different turn. These are not just regular crooks, they are like the coolest villains you’ll ever see. Instead of like, you know, walking down flights of stairs, these guys (and gals) would rather do backflips down the bannister for no apparent reason. These villains ride bikes and skateboards through the mall and know karate. They are just so totally cool.

The diabolical leader of this evil gang is none other than (SPOILER ALERT!!) Veck Sims (Keir O’Donnell), trainee security guard that Blart tried to take under his wing. Their plan is to steal some secret number from the mall credit card machines in each of the stores, somehow making them rich (I didn’t get it, either). O’Donnell puts in one of the worst acting performances this side of Hulk Hogan in Mr. Nanny. Let’s put it this way; he ain’t no Hans Gruber. The horrible dialogue, swiss cheese script, and overacting make the second half of this movie almost painful to watch.

Well, anyway, of course Amy gets captured, as do other friends of Blart and, eventually, his daughter (somehow she walks into the back door of the mall even as the swat and police teams have the building surrounded, just in time to get captured).

Our John McClane in this movie is, obviously, Paul Blart, the only man left on the inside. Watch as he waltzes his fat butt around on the Segway and fights off bad guy after bad guy. Listen as Blart farts in air duct and gives away his position to the baddies. Gross out as Blart must eat a sucker off the floor that is covered in dirt to avoiding passing out from hypoglycemia. Laugh at the product placement as Blart dukes it out in several famous mall establishments (most notably, The Sharper Image). Try not to question why the police do nothing to save the civilians (motion sensing lasers are a big deterrent, apparently).

The second half of the film is just a total mess and ruins what could have been a decent movie. A parody of Die Hard might be a good idea for a film, but this attempt botches it badly.

Just like real mall cops, this film is a wannabe.

Rating: D+

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