Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Parents should be cautious about telling their children that they can pick a movie. There are plenty of decent films out right now that are aimed at younger audiences. So, I figured I would spend yesterday afternoon at Marley and Me, Hotel For Dogs or Bedtime Stories. No, kids don't see things through the same eyes...for some reason my son wanted to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop. What??? That one came out of the blue...he hasn't even mentioned that film.

I have seen a few of the advertisements for Paul Blart: Mall Cop with that guy from King of Queens(Kevin James). James stars in the title role as a Mall Security "Officer" who has tried repeatedly (make that eight times) to pass the New Jersey State Police entrance battery. Blart is one of those guys that was picked on in High School, primarily for his weight which is a side-effect of the constant sugar fixes he needs to battle his hypoglycemia. Blart seldom travels without some medicine (in the form of Pixie Stix) close by.

Officer Blart takes his position as Mall Security very seriously. He rides his Segue around the mall with diligence. His ride is tricked out with a blue light for serious infractions, like dangerous operation of a motorized wheel chair. Blart's co-workers paint a stereo-typical view of mall security...lazy, disinterested and utterly bored. Blart seems to take his job seriously because it is one of the few things in life he enjoys. His wife left him after gaining her citizenship (leaving him to raise a daughter). The lack of love in his life seems to be taking a turn when he meets Amy (Jayma Mays) who works at the weave kiosk in the mall. Everything seems to be falling apart for Blart when his young protege Veck (Keir O'Donnell) turns out to be a criminal mastermind who robs a bank and steals the transaction codes for all of the mall stores. Veck's extreme sports influenced cohorts wreak havoc on the store until Blart comes in to save the day.

I was expecting Paul Blart: Mall Copto be a complete bomb. What I found instead was a halfway interesting story laced with some pretty good one-liners and situational humor. The characters were a bit flat and predictable but definitely interesting. The concept provides an excellent vehicle for creating the comic situations. There are even a couple of plot twists. Although the film reaches a bit I got some solid chuckles. The formulaic nature of the plot was a drawback, even though the setting and characters were fresh. The dialogue was also fairly generic other than the comedic elements. The writing had some positive attributes that I was not expecting. Kevin James and Nick Bakay did a decent job with the writing.

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