Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Avoid this Mall Cop and just go shopping instead.
Blart (Kevin James) is a bumbling single dad with a precocious daughter (Raini Rodriguez) who is constantly urging him to get into internet dating and meet a woman. Instead, he takes his job as a security officer at the local mall much too seriously to have time for romance. His routine is interrupted when a well-organized robbery empties the mall and among those taken hostage in the bank is a girl he has a secret crush on (Jayma Mays). With the SWAT team unable to take action, Blart must use all his wiles to thwart the crooks, free the hostages and save the day.
James is a talented comic actor, especially good in supporting roles like Hitch or his own sitcom, The King of Queens. Here, he just overdoes it. The pratfalls and cop imitations are funny, but generally he's just straining to make us laugh. And we don't -- much. Mays, as the would-be love interest has little to do other than look frightened most of the time, but Rodriguez is quite winning. Also turning up in one-note roles are Stephen Rannazzisi as his rival for Amy's affections, Bobby Cannavale as the SWAT leader and the great Shirley Knight completely wasted as Paul's mom.
Director Steve Carr (Dr. Dolittle, Daddy Day Care) has guided comic actors like Eddie Murphy, Ice Cube, Martin Lawrence and now James with varying degrees of success -- but subtlety is not his strong suit. Basically he turns Blart into an action comedy with the emphasis on over-the-top stunts. Somewhere buried in the non-stop mayhem is a sweet comic performance by James crying to get out but never really does. Ten year olds should eat it all up, but parents will be looking at their watches.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 stars.