This movie is exactly what anyone would expect–nothing more, nothing less. It’s an enjoyable, mindless romp full of pratfalls and slapstick humor that strives to be little more than lighthearted entertainment. And as such, it succeeds admirably.
Few professions are as oft-maligned or disrespected by the public as that of “rent a cops” like the patrolmen we often see at malls, banks, or entrances to gated communities. Never minding his public image, however, our hero Paul Blart (with a name that perfectly fits his character) played by the affable Kevin James, is determined to do his job and do it well. He might not have the best home life, he might not be the coolest guy in the crowd, but he has a duty and he will see it done no matter the consequences. Blart exists to serve the public as a mall security guard, and he takes it upon himself to perform this task, that might seem insignificant or silly to the rest of us, as best as he possibly can. In the meantime he falls for a cute kiosk worker, finds ways to bond with his daughter, and ends up saving the day when a gang of robbers take over the mall in an attempt to get millions of dollars by hacking the…oh, it really doesn’t matter anyway. What’s important is that Blart saves the day and we learn a thing or two about not judging people in the process.
Despite the movie’s predictability and total lack of originality, it is an enjoyable story that is perhaps even more noteworthy for what it is not: a crass, sophomoric, attempt to push the boundaries of family comedy like so many of its contemporaries. I’m so tired of seeing PG-13 rated schlock, that is just barely not edgy enough to deserve an R-rating, being passed off as family or teenage entertainment. But Paul Plart is far more the exception to this trend than the rule, and the movie not only has blatant messages about the importance of family relationships, not judging others by their looks, never giving up under pressure, and even a hint of Ecclesiasted 9:10. I was surprised at how clean this movie was, and in today’s day and age, that’s something noteworthy in and of itself. Take note, Hollywood: Paul Blart and his nearly $100 million domestic total at the box office might just be saying a few things about entertainment today.
But enough of my digression. What really matters here is that this movie is silly but funny, and enjoyable from start to finish largely because of Kevin James’ over-the-top portrayal of the classic mall cop. The movie never takes itself too seriously (since when do bank robbers use skateboards and BMX bikes?) and everyone can find something to relate to in Blart–whether he’s longing (not lusting) for Amy, his kiosk-inhabiting coworker, wishing he could save the day by doing something special, standing up to one of his high school tormentors who is now in charge of the SWAT team, or simply trying to put in an honest day’s work. Despite a few flaws (every character here is a stereotype, and there really is nothing original onscreen in terms of plot) this is an enjoyable movie that, honestly, the whole family could enjoy together.
Last 5 posts by Simon R.
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