Review of Paul Blart: Mall Cop

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Kevin James stars as Paul Blart (James), a chubby security guard who rides a Segway as he patrols a big shopping mall in New Jersey. His job is rather easy, and it's more enjoyable since he has a crush on the girl who works at the hair-extension kiosk. However Paul's easygoing pace is interrupted on Black Friday, when a gang of crooks takes over the mall and takes his crush hostage.
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Movie Review: "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"

-- Rating: PG (some violence, mild crude and suggestive humor, and language)
Length: 91 minutes
Release Date: January 16, 2009
Directed by: Steve Carr
Genre: Action, Crime, and Comedy

"Paul Blart: Mall Cop" is a traditional American comedy film that provides plenty of laughs while at the same time having a good moral to the story. The main character, Paul Blart, is played by funnyman Kevin James, who has previously starred in comedy favorites such as "Hitch" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." What makes the role of Blart suitable for this film is the fact that the average American can identify with his character due to his aspirations to make something more of his life. James also had a large say in the plot, as he was a writer of the film along with Nick Bakay.

Director Steve Carr had only done a handful of movies before "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," but he does a fine job with striking a balance between comedy and crime. In addition to his acting and writing roles, James is also one of the three producers of the film along with Adam Sandler and Barry Bernadi. Sandler is of course one of Hollywood's most well-known funnymen and previously starred alongside James in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

The film opens with the boring and tedious life of Blart, who works as a security guard at a local New Jersey mall and lives with his mother and child from a previous relationship. Blart has a dream to work for the New Jersey State Police Department, but he continually fails the entrance exam due to his physical size. Blart's weight is one of the topics of good-hearted ridicule in the movie. Blart also cannot attract the attention of Amy, a new vendor at the mall, due to his awkwardness and unpredictability around women. Regardless of his failures in life, Blart takes his job as a security guard seriously, even if some of his fellow employees do not feel the same way.

One day Blart is left to guard the mall while his colleagues take a break. However, a group of criminals break into the mall and take hostages, including some of Blart's coworkers. The hijackers want to steal money from a bank, and although Blart is a little slow to react, he does eventually call the police. The cops advise him to leave the mall, but he refuses when he realizes that Amy is a hostage.

For the first time in his life, Blart feels empowered to act like a policeman. One by one he takes down every criminal except the leader through outsmarting them to overcome his physical deficiencies. Blart then attempts to rescue the hostages but is caught by the ringleader, Veck (played by Keir O'Donnell), and is then forced to give up the codes to the accounts at the bank. Once Veck has the money, he takes Amy with him to ensure his safe getaway.

Blart takes one of the cars on display at the mall and follows Veck to the airport, where a business jet is waiting to take the pair to the Cayman Islands. Blart and Veck get into a fistfight and Blart manages to handcuff Veck, saving the day. Due to his heroics, Blart is offered a job with the New Jersey State Police; however, he declines because he now embraces his duty to protect the mall. The final scene shows Blart and Amy getting married in the mall where they first met.

"Paul Blart: Mall Cop" was expected to provide a bit of light-hearted comic relief to movie audiences, but the film surpassed all expectations by becoming a box-office hit. The movie opened at number one at the domestic box office and maintained its position for two weeks. Very few movie critics predicted that the film would be a success with moviegoers due to its limited budget and basic storyline, but the film took in worldwide revenues of more than seven times its budget.

Although there were no plans to make a sequel before the film hit movie theatres, the overwhelming success of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" has led many to believe that a sequel may be possible sometime in the future. The film's production company, Columbia Pictures, has not yet commented on whether there will be a sequel, but don't be surprised if a sequel is showing in movie theatres in the not too distant future. If the sequel is anywhere near as good as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," viewers can be sure to enjoy Kevin James in another comedy special.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars