Paul Blart: Mall Cop

PbPaul Blart (Kevin James) is a man with a dream. Paul dreams of being an officer with the New Jersey police, but thanks to his hypoglycemia, and weight, he has had a difficult time passing his requirements.

After his latest failure which concluded with him passing out inches from an obstacle course finish line, Paul has hit rock bottom. His daughter and mother encourage him to get on with his life, and look for a woman who will make him happy, (It is learned that his ex-wife only wanted him in her life so she could gain citizenship), and that new opportunities will arise.

The fact that the holidays are coming up is of little consolation, as Paul focuses on his career as a security guard at a local mall where he has worked from the past ten years, With the Black Friday shopping day upcoming, Paul attempts to get closer to the lovely Amy (Jayma Mays), who works at one of the mall’s boutiques.

The fact that Paul is shy and awkward does not help his cause, but in time, he is able to form a friendship with Amy that survives some real obstacles such as a very out of character wild night out which ends in disaster for Paul as his intolerance of alcohol leads to some truly outrageous behavior which embarrasses Amy.

As Paul attempts to recover from his fiasco at the workplace party, he returns to patrol at the mall astride his ever present Segway while a group of thieves secretly plot to take over the mall and rob the various stores.

When the bad guys make their move, Paul is indisposed and is easily overlooked, which in turn keeps him in the dark about what is really happening. When Paul eventually learns what is going on and that Amy is amongst the hostages, he must muster up the courage and abilities he never knew he had in order to save the day and rescue Amy.

What follows is a madcap though slight romp which while not big on over the top laughs has more than enough smiles to keep you amused along the way.

Kevin James is entertaining as the hapless Blart, but he is not given much to work with in his first starring role as the story is very formulaic and restrained which does not allow him to fully display his comedic skills as he did in The King of Queens.

The film was produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison company and was co written by James and Nick Bakay. While it is not a bad film, I had hoped for more as the premise is rife with possibilities and the film comes across as playing it safe rather than taking chances. There is very little offensive in the film so it is appropriate for most families, which despite the flaws, makes the film a pleasant if not memorable diversion.

3 stars out of 5