Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Paul Blart: Mall Cop *1/2
Director: Kevin Carr
Cast: Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays
Raini Rodríguez, Shirley Knight, Bobby Cannavale
There is something deeply likable about Kevin James; he looks like the kind, nice guy who would help an old lady cross the street and then go back to his unbelievably good looking wife (like he did on his TV show for several years).
However his kind of "root for the underdog" comedy has come to lose its punch because it lacks sincerity, anyone watching this movie knows for sure that before the credits roll, James' character will have become a hero, perhaps not because of his skills, but because he headlines the movie.
And there's nothing wrong with that of course if you have that mindset while watching it. James plays Paul Blart, a single dad who failed the police exam due to hypoglycemia and works at the mall where he takes his job way more seriously than any of the other people in the security staff.
He sets his eyes on a new employee (the lovely Anna Faris-esque Mays) and finds the perfect time to impress her when the mall is attacked by a band of thieves who take her, among others, as hostage.
Using his mall knowledge, which everyone else took for granted and some improbable plot machinations, he takes on the villains overcoming fears, all sorts of obstacles and rescuing the damsel.
The thing with the film is that even if the rescue portion of the plot is inventive, the whole thing lacks punch. Paul is a too likable hero who sometimes seems to be a praisal of mediocrity instead of a likable, believable human being.
And then when you take into consideration the fact that world economy is leading to unemployment, paranoia and fear which could turn mall/hostage situations into reality, the idea of someone like Blart looking after us is more scary than funny.