Paul Blart (Kevin James) is fat, hypoglycemic, and fills the cracks in his heart by lathering peanut putter on pie. Just about the only thing he’s good at is riding a Segway, and still he’s able to snag a date with that twiggy redhead from Smiley Face who refuses to buy weed from Anna Faris. Well, it’s not so much a date as it is a get-together after work, during which the non-drinker engages in a nacho-eating contest, swallowing a hot pepper and confusing a pitcher of margarita for a water trough, which leads to all sorts of tomfoolery only a studio plant would dare laugh at. No, Paul Blart: Mall Cop doesn’t come to us from Judd Apatow & Co. but from the folks at Happy Madison, purveyors of frat-boy wish-fulfillment fantasies that are of an infinitely less funny, poignant, and visually dynamic sort. Paul Thomas Anderson might have made poetry—wonky, obnoxiously stylized poetry, yes, but poetry nonetheless—from the way Blart is resigned to being humiliated for the rest of his days (the shot of Blart quietly crawling into a hostage situation inside the mall’s bank and walking through a roped line is a moment of absurd grace, only it’s shot with the vulgarity of a Crash Test Dummies commercial), maybe even transformed the film into a remake of, say, The Cameraman, with Blart’s Segway as the camera Buster Keaton uses to assert his individuality and perpetuate his success. As it stands, though, the film is mostly a showcase for how to crash into things and people from different angles. No gay jokes, but the fat and ugly get thrown under the bus in ways unseen since About Schmidt, with Blart finally allowed trite redemption when the New Jersey mall he works at is robbed by an obnoxious group of tattooed thieves apparently on break from a Madonna tour.
- Columbia Pictures
- 91 min
- Steve Carr
- Kevin James, Nick Bacay
- Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez, Shirley Knight, Steven Rannazzisi, Peter Gerety, Bobby Cannavale, Adam Ferrara, Jamal Mixon, Adhir Kalyan, Erick Avari
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