Paul Blart Mall Cop Review: Fighting Fire with Fat

March 16, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

PAUL BLART – MALL COP: On general release from Friday 20th March 2009

Paul Blart: a man with a badge (but without a gun), a man with sweat patches that make his stomach look like a cloud on uppers, a man constantly let down by his hypoglycaemia but a man nonetheless dedicated to his work. Cue pumping-iron, rock-edged backing track…

Well it was never going to be Oscar worthy, hell, I didn’t even think it would be praiseworthy but Paul Blart: Mall Cop was passable. Kevin James is endearing in the title role of lonely jobsworth Blart, who meets his ideal woman in wig-wearing Amy (Jayma Mays), despite their blossoming romance being thwarted by Stuart the pen salesman – he’s a right nib.

Blart is finally given the chance to prove himself when Veck, the suspicious new security recruit, launches a calculated swindling operation to obtain over thirty million dollars of mall money. Armed with his crew of reindeer-named gangster-types (I guess the Bloods and the Crips have got dibs on all the badass names) Veck takes several employees hostage, including Blart’s bird. Panicked in the face of real danger, Blart realises he is in fact trained to do nothing except ride a Segway personal transportation device (one of those stand up scooter-type contraptions that appears to render walking obsolete). Yet, rather than cower in fear, Paul sets about overcoming the bad guys with the usual mix of accidental tomfoolery.

This movie has Adam Sandler stamped all over it (he did produce the film after all), but aside from the slapstick, some of the more throwaway lines are the most memorable. For example, when Commander Kent, Blart’s high school antagonist turns up with a SWAT team, he says, “Remember me, I set you on fire at the Pancake festival?”

The film seeks to wow reckless pre-teens as it features the triumvirate of street pursuits du jour – BMXing, skateboarding and free running, with the best stunt involving a free runner and a skateboarder hurtling through the air before smashing into either side of a lift. Don’t try this at home kids, oh who am I kidding, you’re probably attempting to set yourselves on fire as we speak.

On first watch, it’s bearable but Paul Blart is not going down in history as a work of comic genius. I’d advise keeping your seven quid and fishing the DVD out of a bargain bucket in a few months. I’m interested to see how Observe and Report matches up to Paul Blart – with an older target market and more gross out humour in place of clumsy gags. In the battle of the bulges – who is the cuddly comedy king?

I was expecting to be blown away by Pineapple Express and ended up bitterly disappointed – Seth Rogen, do not fail me now.

Sally McIlhone

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