PAUL BLART MALL COP
Slapstick Comedy Misses the Mark
Release Date: January 16, 2009
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 91 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Steve Carr
Executive Producer: Jeff Sussman
Writer: Kevin James and Nick Bakay
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident/Triumph Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Paul Blart is a single, hypoglycemic mall cop who takes his job a little too seriously, which often makes him the subject of much ridicule. He lives by the motto, “Safety never takes a holiday.”
The need for safety becomes evident when a group of bad guys posing as Santa’s helpers take over the mall on Black Friday, holding staffers and shoppers hostage so they can cash in on the holiday sales. Of course, it’s up to Paul Blart, the overweight, stick-to-the-rules, and all around good guy to save the day (before his hypoglycemia kicks in) and get the girl of his dreams, a mall employee who works at a stand called Beweavable.
One might think that a series of slapstick scenes and lots of physical comedy brought to the screen by Kevin James (who was so funny in HITCH) playing a mall cop would be funny and possibly hilarious, but it is just the opposite. The writers and directors took a movie that could have had potential and turned it into a below-average, barely making the PG rating, movie. In the production notes, it said that the filmmakers tried to create a family atmosphere in the movie with the relationship between Paul and his daughter, Maya. Unfortunately, the relationship between the two is hardly believable with Maya trying to set her father up with a girlfriend on perfectmatch.com, thinking this will bring him happiness. Also, Paul sets a bad example for his daughter with his pessimistic attitude about his job, his self-pity parties, and his drunken behavior in which he has two tattoos put on his back. There doesn’t seem to be a real connection between the two. Their interactions seem rather cliché and overdone. The filmmakers try to make up for this by making Paul the hero who saves his daughter from the clutches of the bad guys, but it really isn’t inspiring in the least.
During the movie, the writers throw a couple of twists into the plot which the audience would never see coming simply because there is nothing in the story leading up to them. It’s as though the filmmakers just threw them in hoping to get a few laughs. Some of the violence is a bit random and somewhat disturbing such as the brawl that Paul Blart gets himself into with a woman in Victoria Secret. The sexual references, language, and drunkenness seem completely unnecessary and push the line with the PG rating. This content steals from whatever wholesome qualities the movie creates; it requires caution for moviegoers. MOVIGUIDE® suggests a more commendable movie such as 2007’s THE GAME PLAN that not only contains humor but strong redemptive elements between a single father and his daughter.
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One might think a series of slapstick scenes with Kevin James playing a mall cop could be very funny, but it is just the opposite. The filmmakers take a story that could have had potential and turn it into a below average movie that barely fits its PG rating. The plot is dull and the dialogue often falls flat. Also, the relationship between Paul and his daughter is unrealistic and not inspiring. In addition, some foul language, gratuitous sexual references, and a scene of drunkenness detract from the movie’s overall quality. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution.