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Catholic Movie Reviews: Paul Blart: Mall Cop

PG

MPAA Rating

Life Teen Rating

Is It Cool?: Excellence in Filmmaking

 

We meet up with Paul Blart (Kevin James) six years after his original film. We discover that in that span of time, he has maintained his job as a security officer and that his fairytale marriage lasted all of six days. In addition, his mother is unceremoniously struck by a truck and killed within the first five minutes of the movie. This leaves Paul alone in the world with the exception of his now-adult daughter, Maya (Raini Rodriguez).  One day, they each receive a very important piece of mail. Maya gets her acceptance letter to UCLA, which is a continent away from dear old over-protective dad, and Paul gets a letter that he is to be honored at the Security Officers Trade Association Conference in Las Vegas. Paul is so excited about this that he calls Maya down from her room to tell her the news and ends up giving her a whole speech about how he doesn’t know what he’d do without her. This makes her feel guilty and conflicted about her excitement over going to UCLA and she ends up not telling him about the acceptance letter.

 

The two head from Jersey to Vegas and arrive at the Wynn. There are so many gratuitously flattering shots of the Wynn (including a completely unnecessary number of helicopter shots) that I remember thinking “Did Steve Wynn produce this movie?” And no. I checked when I got home. Embarrassingly, this is a Sony and Happy Madison baby. Though Wynn does have an awkward cameo at the end where he looks really orange.

 

Paul meets a posse of other Security Officers and is led to believe he will be the secret keynote speaker at their conference only to humiliatingly discover later on that he is not, in fact, the keynote speaker. He’s really excited about attending all of the security events and Maya just wants to be a teenage girl enjoying Vegas. She ends up eye-flirting with the valet as soon as they pull in to the hotel and suddenly she and the young man are besties and she repeatedly meets up with him for innocent hang out sessions while her dad is off doing other things. Ultimately, following a series of painfully unnecessary scenes (Paul in a fist fight with an ostrich while a hotel pianist plays a lovely soundtrack nearby, for example) Paul ends up being the keynote speaker after all because the guy who was supposed to do it got so drunk he passed out. Meanwhile, Maya is at a huge party with the cute valet boy she just met in the Presidential Suite of the hotel (because the hotel employees often throw wild parties when guests leave early) and sees something she shouldn’t. She ends up being kidnapped by an international art thief (because it’s the PLOT, duh!) and Paul has to save her using every conceivable slapstick stereotype possible. There are honestly a LOT of other story points, but the logic of them is so strange and nonsensical that I’m not bothering to go there.

 

I’m going to be honest, you guys. The premise and writing of this movie is poor. The plot is thin and the character motivations are nearly nonexistent. The characters are two-dimensional at BEST and for the most part, the acting vacillates between “flat (everyone else)” and “trying too hard (Kevin James).” This movie is exactly two things: A commercial for Wynn Resort and a vehicle for Kevin James to play “Awkward sweaty fat guy.” Midway through the film, I was almost “sympathy sweating.” Kevin James is flopping around on the floor almost more than he’s upright and sadly, most of the physical comedy just doesn’t work. We’ve seen all of it before a hundred times and we’ve seen it done much better. There are no surprises here and very little to generate interest. It’s tropey and feels like an overly long episode of a mediocre sitcom. This makes the 94 minute run time feel like an eternity. Was I expecting glory? No. Of course not. I did at least expect to laugh, though. Kevin James is a really funny guy, right? I can remember laughing exactly four times. Four. The TITLE of the movie has more words in it than the number of laughs I got.

What’s it Saying?: Message of the Movie

During Blart’s uncomfortably long Keynote Speech at his Security Officer conference, he uses the phrase “Help someone today.” Repeatedly. I mean he REALLY hits on that phrase, so my assumption is that the production team was hoping we would catch that. I think the movie was also trying to illustrate a loving relationship between a father and daughter, though their relationship is honestly pretty problematic. There is no doubt they love one another, but Blart is by turns a helicopter dad and an accusatory, selfish one. Their odd relationship is yet one more of the thin plot strings of this movie.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Morality in the Movie

THIS is where PBMC2 (yes, I went there) really shines. There is absolutely nothing I noticed to complain about, morally speaking. There are no nude scenes, there is no foul language, and there are no inappropriate scenarios. Nada. I would comfortably take my four year old nephew and my octogenarian grandmother and not feel the slightest bit uneasy.

That's Right. I Said It: Reviewer Comments

I am literally the ONLY person in this movie theater on a Friday evening. This does not bode well. (Bonus fact: I really was the ONLY person in the movie theater so I was able to take actual notes and even two selfies! The following are the notes I took in order.)

Oh, oh dear. That old lady just got plowed into by a truck. Just bam, and dead.

What is going on with the acting? I feel like maybe I’m just not in on the joke or it’s building to a really smart payoff that I pray is coming…?

Pauls’ vacation clothing. NOPE. Just nope.

Okay, Maya eye-flirted with the absurdly and unrealistically attractive valet guy and now BAM they are BFFs in LESS THAN TWO HOURS. Just…what?

What is Maya wearing? That looks like a full on sundress, not a bathing suit. And did Paul just body shame/fat shame his daughter? Hmmm.

These other security officers at the conference…yikes. EVERY sad sack stereotype possible.

I don’t even care what’s happening with this bad guy. Yes yes, expensive art heist and your eyes are different colors and you are German. I DON’T CARE. Who are these people in random suits? Oh, of COURSE there’s a random, beautiful, dark haired woman with no lines in your entourage.

Hey wait…there are literally NO interesting women in this story. I’m offended. No. No wait. There are no interesting people of ANY gender in this story. It’s equal opportunity bad.

There is so much product placement happening right now that it’s like SkyMall threw up in the Wynn.

No way. How big is that suitcase? Paul Blart just magically fits into a suitcase? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I did not get big enough popcorn. This movie is making me bored-eat and I’m out of popcorn.

 

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Jessica Salmans
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