- Movie Rating -

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)

| April 17, 2015

I am not as angry with Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 as I have reason to be. The movie is too lethargic and bland to earn any sort of rage; the closest I come to anger is that while I was watching the movie I had an intense desire to be anywhere else – a feeling I haven’t had since Gods Not Dead a year ago. My anger for this movie is possibly quelled by the fact that Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is still fresh in my mind, a comedy that contained a joke that brought up mental imagery of The Oklahoma City Bombing. Paul Blart 2 is merely boring and uninteresting.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is a colossal waste of time. It is 94 minutes of watching an otherwise engaging comedian flop around on the floor and make a fool of himself. What it illustrates is that Kevin James is at his best away from Adam Sandler’s crew. Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions is responsible for this chunk of indifference and also the two Grown Ups movies, and most of the movies that make up James’ filmography. They illustrate the low points of his career. Away from HMP, James is a funny likable guy in his stand up and on his TV show and in movies like Hitch.

Here Kevin James is a requisite tool, playing a character who is an annoying bongo hunk of flopsweat who is persistently under the mistaken assumption that what he’s doing is clever. Paul Blart’s signature attribute is that he makes faces and gestures that suggest that he thinks he’s being agile and intuitive while in reality he’s just a dumpy loser who spends his life embarrassing himself by falling over things and making colossal miscalculations. The problem is that you don’t laugh at his antics; you feel sorry for him because of his misfortunes in life and groan impatiently while waiting for him to move to the next obvious slapstick gag.

Let’s examine one gag in particular.  Paul meets a man outside a Vegas hotel who is renting Segways.  Since Paul uses this particular item on a regular basis on his job, he fancies himself an expert.  He wants to show off but the vendor tells him that he needs to see a valid driver’s license first.  Paul scoffs.  The man is irritated and insists again that he needs a valid driver’s license before he can let Paul try it out.  Paul goes ahead, doing stunts and showing off while we see the face of the poor vendor who becomes irritated by Paul’s stunt show.

What is frustrating is that we agree with the vendor.  He’s a guy doing his job and this idiot is putting his job in jeopardy.  The vendor is never set up as an and angry malaprop, but as a normal guy doing what he should be doing.  For this, we don’t like what Paul is going.  That pushes us away from him, and the scene works against the character.

There are at least a dozen scenes like this in Paul Blart Mall Cop 2, up to and including a running gag in which he provokes a fight with a peacock.  This happens three or four times in this movie, and every time I saw the peacock, I winced because I knew that the movie was recreating a epic fight between Peter and the giant chicken on “Family Guy.”  It’s wastes time, and it isn’t funny.

The plot finds Blart traveling to Las Vegas after his wife (Jayma Mays) divorces him for no apparent reason after only six days, and then his mother (Shirley Knight) is run over and killed by a milk truck – that’s suppose to be funny, and so are the scenes of Paul Blart crying over it. One the cusp of sending his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) off to college, the two travel to Las Vegas to attend a convention of security guards, and run headlong into a heist of precious works of art.

That’s it. That’s all you need to know. The rest of the movie is watching Paul Blart make a fool of himself. He makes a miscalculation, and usually ends up flying across the room for his troubles. Why? Cause he’s fat, and the people who made this movie are under the mistaken assumption that fat people in and of themselves are funny when they fall down.

The movie isn’t funny.  There are no laughs here.  Normally I blame the writers and not the actors, but here I have to because Kevin James himself is one of the writers.  He wrote himself into a corner.  The problem is, you don’t laugh at Paul Blart, you feel sorry for him. It’s deadly to a comedy, as Roger Ebert once asserted, when you feel sorry for the character. It’s painful to watch him embarrass himself, fall on the ground, slide across the floor, nearly get hit by a car or, fighting that peacock, and one endless scene in which he ends up on stage during a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s “La Reve.”  The character isn’t funny, he’s pathetic.  Watching him is a dreary experience.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2015) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy