PAUL BLART: MALL COP
Review by Gordon Justesen
James, Jayma Mays, Keir OíDonnell, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Rannazzisi, Shirley
Director: Steve Carr
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 91 Minutes
Release Date: May 19, 2009
ďHey Blart, I was hoping we could get an ETA of when youíre gonna give up.Ē
ďHow about now? Iíll meet you on the corner of NE and VER.. Yeah, you heard me, NEVER!Ē
In all honesty, I had no intention whatsoever of seeing Paul Blart: Mall Cop. But when the movie managed to become a monster hit at the box office, grossing somewhere in the neighborhood of $145 million, I was curious to see if there was any enjoyment to be had beyond what I saw in the trailer. Not the case.
This is basically an Adam Sandler-produced comedy for younger kids. In that respect, I canít really fault the movie because itís basically a wacky comedy with the kind of pratfalls kids and their parents will be able to enjoy. And I will also give the movie credit for the fact that it does have something of a heart to it, which is never bad.
For me, though, Blart (quick, whatís the first word you can think of that rhymes with it?) was simply a crushing bore of a comedy. Actually, labeling it as a comedy might be going too far. To me, it basically felt like a collection of fat jokes and Segway jokes stretched out for 90 minutes.
The title character, played by Kevin James, is (and I donít think Iím spoiling anything major here) a mall cop. Heís a guy with a big heart and an even bigger physique, which is something the movie is kind enough to remind us during each physical gag. Blart has hopes of one day becoming a New Jersey State Trooper, though his hypoglycemia always manages to get the better of him during the training exercises.
But he continues to keep positive and perform his duty as the top security cop of a New Jersey mall, which consists of coasting through the mall daily via a segway. He eagerly teaches the ropes to a new trainee, Veck (Keir OíDonnell). But for Blart, the best part of his job is the chance to glance at Amy (Jayma Mays), who operates a kiosk called Unbeweavables.
As it turns out, though, Veck is a master criminal in disguise, using his newly assigned job as a means to get a layout of the building and security actions. The reason, and I hope youíre ready for this, is so that he and his team of skateboarding/bike riding henchmen can take over the mall, grab a few hostages, and (again, donít think Iím ruining anything for anybody) demand money.
But one man stands in their way, a man named BlartÖPaul Blart (sorry, I couldnít help myself). Because he knows this mall better than anyone, he takes it upon himself to take out the bad guys and save the day. One of the hostages happens to be Amy, which makes this matter PERSONAL.
As you can see, this is basically Die Hard made for audiences not familiar with Die Hard. I know what youíre thinking; Die Hard clones have been in existence since the early 90s, but this is perhaps the first non-direct to video movie I can think of that literally borrows individual scenes from the 1988 action classic. But they are given a unique twist, as they merely serve as excuses to incorporate a fat joke, a segway joke, or sometimes both.
It also doesnít help that these are some of the weakest villains in movie history. They spend way too much time skateboarding and biking around the mall, for no reason whatsoever, to be taken seriously as menacing foes. Folks, I canít put it any plainer; Paul Blart has officially made every bad Die Hard rip off before it look so much better.
The only good thing to come out of this movieís unbelievable box office success is the mere fact that Kevin James has now become a bankable comedy star, which he is completely deserving of. At the same time, this was something of a passion project for James, who co-wrote the script. I do have faith that he can come up with a funny concept, and I hope he can illustrate that belief in the future before he considers penning Paul Blart 2, which at this point is inevitable.
The bottom line is this; I love dumb comedy and a movie of this type shouldnít be so hard for me to enjoy. Though Iíve seen much worse in terms of comedy, and I did get a chuckle or two (see the quote above), I canít bring myself to recommend Paul Blart: Mall Cop to anyone except younger kids, since itís mostly a harmless movie. But if youíre an adult who appreciates true comedy, I suggest holding out for an entirely different mall cop movie that will hit the home format later this year.
This Blu-ray release from Sony delivers a very fine picture quality, as is to be expected for a new release. I will say though, I donít think it was necessary for the movie to be shot in HD. I became distracted at times when the format seemed to showcase itself more than it should. After all, this is just a simple comedy and not a Michael Mann film. But the detail in the picture is most consistent, and the colors are extremely well handled, especially within the mall interiors.
The Dolby TrueHD mix does get the job done when it comes to the comedic action bits and physical pratfalls. The presentation gets a big boost from a soundtrack of surprisingly great music from the 80s, ranging from Survivor to Eddie Money. Dialogue delivery is also terrifically clear from beginning to end.
Extras on this Sony release include a commentary track with Kevin James and producer Todd Garner, which is quite funny as expected. We also get ten Deleted Scenes, a grand total of eleven behind the scenes featurettes, which altogether run at around 50 minutes, which covers everything from stunts to bloopers. Lastly, thereís Bonus Previews for additional Sony releases, and BD Live content.
Even when it comes to dumb/one-note comedies, Iím fairly easy to please. So if I couldnít find much to enjoy in Paul Blart: Mall Cop, thatís really saying something. I can safely say that getting a speeding ticket holds more entertainment value.