2 Stars - Shallow
The endearing humor of Kevin James’ portrayal of Paul Blart is not enough to make Steve Carr’s film work. Essentially one long defense of overweight people and ridiculing the people who make life hard for them, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is neither a compelling romantic comedy nor an engaging action film. The character development is weak and the heist is hard to understand or believe.
The central character of the film is an overweight mall security officer who wants to be a New Jersey patrolman. The problem is that he has a hypoglycemic condition that causes him to faint when his blood sugar is low. This condition is exacerbated by his mother’s (Shirley Knight) decision to comfort her adult son with food.
But his inability to be a real policeman is only part of Blart’s struggle. He is also a failure at love. Having been deceived by an illegal alien who left him once their marriage gave her legal citizenship, Blart is left with his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) and a broken heart. His lack of self-confidence becomes most obvious when he is taken by a beautiful young woman working a kiosk in his mall whose name is Amy (Jayma Mays).
The villains of the story come in two forms. One is a pathetic jerk (Stephen Rannazzisi) who has designs on Amy and ridicules Blart’s weight in front of her. The other is a seemingly incompetent young man named Veck Sims (Keir O’Donnell) who has recently been hired as a mall security officer himself.
We won’t spoil the surprises that come as the plot unfolds and the mall comes under siege, but the action lacks imagination, the humor is predictable and the final outcome is easily foreseen.
One of the most common fears of most Americans today is obesity. Why do you think this is true? Do you share this fear?
Did you find the courage with which Blart faced this situation as admirable or hard to believe?
The plot of how Veck was going to steal thirty million dollars was not fully explained. Do you think that it is a weakness in the plot or the wisdom of the filmmakers to not reveal how easy it would be to steal money through our electronic banking system?