"Slapstick Comedy Misses the Mark"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(BB, Ro, LL, V, S, N, AA, MM) Strong moral worldview with light Romantic elements where man rescues woman from dangerous situation and tries to do the right thing by capturing the bad guys and fighting to protect others at personal cost to himself; 11 obscenities and 10 profanities (mostly “Oh, God”); slapstick violence such as man runs into car, man tries to run over other man with motor chair, man throws other man off of a stage, man gets into brawl with larger woman in store, bombs explode but no one is injured, bad men shoot guns but nobody gets hit, man shoots other man in the arm but no blood is shown, man gets knocked out by a tanning bed, man gets knocked down and knocked out by hockey stick, two men fall 45 feet into play-area ball pit, man gets into brawl with other man, man head butts other man, man gets knocked out by helium tank, children throw plastic balls from ball pit at man, unconscious woman gets dropped on the floor after being knocked out by an air vent, bad guy repeatedly shoots a plastic dummy, and other slapstick comedic pratfalls; sexual references such as man accidentally asks “Do you do men?” instead of “Do you do men’s hair,” reference made to drunken man making out with a purse, a hot sauce is called “Devil’s Crotch,” reference made to a man’s weight responsible for knocking out a woman, but this line is delivered with sexual implications, overweight man refers to his “love sweats” as a way of saying he gets nervous around women, boy is overly-infatuated with his ex-girlfriend and makes a couple of light suggestive comments, and light kiss at the end of the movie; upper male nudity, overweight woman shown in bra while in a brawl, and scantily clad woman in a video game; alcohol use depicted with man unknowingly drinking a pitcher of margarita mix that he thinks is lemonade which ends up making him drunk, and people drink alcohol in the bar of a restaurant; no smoking or drug use; man gets drunk and ends up getting tattoos on his back, implications are made that in order to be happy a man needs to have a girlfriend, reference made to woman marrying a man only to gain citizenship only to leave after doing so, man is ridiculed for his weight, boy stalks his ex-girlfriend by installing a GPS tracking system on her phone without her knowing it, stealing, and lying.
PAUL BLART: MALL COP is a rather dull and poorly written portrayal of an average mall cop who saves the day by capturing the bad guys and rescuing some hostages through slapstick physical comedy.
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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