Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paul Blart Mall Cop: Grade C

Paul Blart Mall Cop (2009)
Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez; Director Steve Carr.

James is a proud but lonely security guard at a typical American suburban shopping mall. He imagines that he is actually a state trooper as he whips around the mall on his Segway. He longs for a young woman (Mays) merchant in the mall, to no avail. Bad guys invade the mall, take hostages, and it is up to James to save the day. The story is completely formulaic. It could have been lifted directly from Kung Fu Panda, for example, but the attractiveness of the movie is actually James’ comedic talent, which is considerable. He’s a great face actor, and remarkably light on his feet, turning in some good stunts. The script has some delicious moments (James co-wrote), such as when he corrects someone about his title: “Security Officer, actually, not Security Guard.” More of that could have made it a real winner. The movie is apparently designed for children (or adults with child-like minds), so a scene where he gets sloppy drunk in a bar seems out of place, but that is the only false note. It’s the kind of movie that makes you smile rather than laugh out loud.

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