Movie Review - Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Die Hard for families.

That's the basic premise and result of this comedy by actor/writer Kevin James and director Stever Carr. Think John McClain meets Ralph Kramden.

The plot of the movie is fairly straightforward. Paul Blart is a security "officer" at a large New Jersey shopping mall. He takes his job way too seriously. Way too seriously. His dream is to become a New Jersey state trooper, but his hypoglycemia keeps him from completing the obstacle course.

On Black Friday, thugs take over the mall in an attempt to steal all the credit card batch codes from all the stores. Among the hostages taken are Paul's would-be girlfriend and his daughter. Thus, this mall cop is not about to let anyone mess with "his" mall. After all, he is sworn to protect the safety of the shoppers (even if he made the oath up himself).

At the end of a day, this is a story about redemption, persistance and love. Paul's love for his daughter and Amy, the object of his affection, gives him inner strength and determination. Even though he makes a fool out of himself in front of Amy, she sees through all that, though his weight and his quirky personality, and sees through to the real man inside. There's a lesson there for us all.

I have no doubt that this film could be placed as-is on television. It is pretty harmless fare. There is no really bad language, and the "violence" is more of the slapstick variety. The film does a good job satiring many action-movie cliches as well. (My favorite was the Matrix-like fight in a Champs sporting goods store.) The humor, while not exactly highbrow, is still funny. There was actually a "plot twist" (I'm being generous here) that I didn't see coming.

This is a fine film to see with all but the youngest children. I took my twelve-year-old daughter, and didn't have one single moment of discomfort. Plus, it had a bunch of 80's music in the soundtrack. (When was the last time you heard REO Speedwagon in a movie?) A win on two counts.

Don't expect this to be the best movie you see this year. But it will be far from the worst.


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    by Arcadia


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