Paul Blart, Mall Cop
directed by Steve Carr
(Columbia, 2009)

Paul Blart, Mall Cop was certainly on my list of things to see once it came out on video, but I ended up in the theater with my 11-year-old daughter after she begged to see it. I dutifully took along a notebook, figuring I'd write a review since I was there -- but my movie's end, I hadn't clicked my pen open even once. The nicely lined pages were still crisply white.

I enjoyed the movie. Beyond that, there really isn't a lot to say about it.

Paul Blart (Kevin James, TV's King of Queens) is a well-meaning, overweight everyman whose dreams of becoming a New Jersey state cop are crushed at every turn by his affliction with hypoglycemia, which causes him to fall asleep when his blood-sugar levels dip too low. So instead, he works as a Segway-riding mall security officer, a job he takes very seriously, and lives a lonely life with his mother (Shirley Knight) and his daughter (Raini Rodriguez) from a failed marriage. He wants romance in his life, but gets no online nibbles and Amy, the cute kiosk worker at the mall (Jayma Mays), seems to like him mostly in a goofy co-worker kind of way.

Things turn serious when the mall is invaded by a team of athletic thieves led by Veck Sims (Keir O'Donnell). The security guards are thrown out and the mall is cleared of customers with the exception of a handful of hostages -- including, of course, Amy and Blart's daughter. Blart, who was playing Guitar Hero in the closed arcade when everything went down, finds himself the hostages' only hope.

It's a fun movie. Rarely laugh-out-loud funny, it's still amusing and entertaining. It lacks the ubiquitous profanity and sexual situations that would make it inappropriate for children, and it isn't laced with the fart jokes that seem to be required in most kid films these days. It's a good time, overall, and I'm glad I got to spend it with my daughter.

review by
Tom Knapp

21 February 2009

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