That desire was satisfied somewhere between the opening credits and about three minutes in. No, this isn't a very good movie, but Kevin James is a funny guy and the film does have some genuinely funny moments -- just not enough of them to string together a 91-minute movie.
The premise is simple: Mall Cops. They're the Barney Fife's of today's
small mall town, who patrol between the food court and Victoria's Secret. They're the frontline of defense between Bath and Body Works and the hooligans who hang out at Spencer's.
He's a man going nowhere on a Segway.
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a single dad who lives with his mother and pre-teen daughter. He's a wannabe policeman who's failed the fitness test too many times to count. When not eating pie and peanut butter (it fills in the cracks of the heart) he satisfies his need for police work by working as a mall cop.
You can insert the most obvious mall jokes here. We are treated to septuagenarian speeders who won't stop for the beleaguered Blart and kids who hurl insults and balls from the ball pit. He gets his butt kicked by aggressive shoppers at Victoria's Secret and the low-life lothario who runs the pen kiosk. Blart's too big to be invisible, yet he finds a way. He's a man going nowhere on a Segway.
When he does manage to get noticed, he reaches out to the girl running the hair extension kiosk (Jayma Mays doing a pretty good Anna Faris impersonation). He does his best to impress her, but all he really has to offer is a ride to the parking lot.
Of course, Blart won't ever make it big unless something big happens. Surprise! Skateboarding terrorists take over the mall and Blart has an opportunity to shine. Of course these are mall terrorists and despite all the acrobatics no one is ever in serious danger.
This device gives Kevin James a chance to see how many pratfalls he can take before it gets old. He is an agile comedian, but there's more to comedy than just being the "fat guy". Jackie Gleason, Lou Costello, John Belushi and even Chris Farley elevated this shtick to high art. With James, not so much.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop is harmless enough entertainment. If there's nothing to do, or if you're watching the pre-teen grandkids for the afternoon, pop in the DVD and let it roll. It's PG and there's really nothing here that will offend anybody. Anybody, except moviegoers who appreciate a good comedy.
The Boomer Brief recommends Netflix for your movie rentals. The monthly rental packages start at only $4.99 - and you can cancel at any time.
If you want to see the fat guy shtick at its best, check out this Chris Farley classic.