Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
★ / ★★★★
I hate giving good-hearted comedies bad ratings and reviews but it’s one of those things I have to do for the sake of giving an honest critique. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” stars Kevin James as a security guard who tries to stop criminals from robbing an entire mall during the busiest shopping time of the year. James’ character is someone one can root for because he is a genuinely good guy but doesn’t quite reach for his full potential because he tends to put others before himself. Unfortunately, a main character that the audiences want to root for isn’t enough to save this movie. Like “Get Smart,” this film featured most of its funniest jokes in the trailer so when one is actually watching the movie, it becomes too underwhelming or disappointing. The story is also way too safe. James falls for one of the girls who run a booth at the mall (played by the adorable Jayma Mays) but he can’t quite ask her out because of his own insecurities. After stopping the robbers (come on, you knew how it was going to end), he suddenly gets the courage to go for the things he wants. It’s all been done before and other films have done a way better job. I was more interested with James’ mom and daughter instead of the whole criminals-taking-over-the-mall bit. I get that it was trying to make references to the “Die Hard” series, and I did chuckle from time to time, but it was not as funny as it should have been. I didn’t really feel a sense of danger for any of the characters so I wasn’t invested in what was about to transpire. Overall, this movie is very forgettable because it’s as light as cotton candy. If James is given a better script for a future film project, I know that he can excel if he keeps his energy as much as he did here. I do appreciate his enthusiasm for the role but at the same time everyone else should deliver as well. I’m going to have to say skip this one unless one really wants to watch a safe, family-friendly vehicle.