Everyone dreads the post holiday movie slump. All of the award season films come out during the holidays and then it hits us late January and February when we realize theres absolutely nothing playing at the Cineplex that we want to see. Kevin James and Happy Madison have taken a cue from comedians such as Martin Lawrence, who has also seen success with early in the year releases such as Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins and Big Mommas House, and released a mediocre, mildly funny family film cashing in on the audiences yearning for something new to watch.
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a single dad trying to raise his daughter Maya (Raini Ramirez) with the help of his mother (Shirley Knight Grandmas Boy). Hes trying desperately to become a New Jersey state trooper, but since he cannot seem to pass the physical exam, has to settle for a job as a mall security officer. His mother and daughter wish he would concentrate harder on finding a woman and they are constantly pushing him to create a profile on dating websites. Instead, Blart focuses on his job, training the new security guard on the “force”, and trying not to look like a dolt in front of Amy (Jayma Mays Epic Movie, TV’s Ugly Betty), the hot chick who works at a hair extensions kiosk.
Blarts dreams come true when a group of skater boy neer-do-wells evacuate the mall on Black Friday to rob each store, and end up taking his beloved Amy and daughter Maya as hostage. He is the only “man on the inside” and must keep his post to protect the mall and the women he loves. Of course since hes armed only with his Segway, hijinks ensue and, Im sure this isnt giving anything away, Blart ends up saving the day.
Dont expect any surprises while watching Paul Blart: Mall Cop or too many laughs for that matter. The bulk (pun intended) of the films jokes revolve around Paul Blarts weight. Youll either find yourself feeling sorry for the guy and the verbal beatings he receives, or youll just get tired of hearing about it. If youre in the latter group, youll breathe a sigh of relief at the halfway point when the film turns from an awkward comedy into a kiddie action flick with a situation similar to Die Hard.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop needs Kevin James to succeed in the same way that the similar in story Observe & Report needed Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen needed to break away from his stereotypical loveable oaf characters, and Kevin James wanted to embrace them. Like it or not, Happy Madison did the right thing releasing this film when they did and and marketing this film towards kids. They’ve created an unlikely smash hit out of an otherwise mediocre film. The comedy might be groaningly redundant at times, but the action in the second half of the flick is enough to at least mildly entertain, which is all that a movie like this needs to accomplish.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop on Blu-Ray is presented in a enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Kevin James and his glorious moustache are fully hi-def and 1080p, and honestly this picture looks better than when I saw it in theaters. It also features Dolby Digital surround sound to pick up all the X-gamer’s skateboard whooshes.
Kevin James: Not Your Average Mall Cop – Kevin James talks about writing the screenplay and creating the character. 4:58
Action Sports Junkies – Shows all the X-gamers who were cast to be the bad guys. 6:20
Stunts – This featurette shows the anatomy of the biggest stunts in the film: the jump across the roof and the fall down into the ball pit. Interesting. 10:32
The Mall – The mall that is featured in the film is a real mall, and they filmed while the mall was open. Watching the movie, those are real shoppers there in the background. This one is interesting as well. 4:22
On Set With Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla – This one just follows around one of the skater boys. *yawn* 5:44
Fun On Set – This isn’t a blooper reel (although one could be added to the extras instead of one of the many featurettes with the X-gamers), but instead just a compilation of the cast goofing around behind the scenes. 6:04
Mike V. vs. Mall Cop – A staged confrontation between Mike V., who has vandalized the exterior of the mall, and Blart, who has come to ask the perpetrator to cease his disorderly behavior. Cute, although Mike V. is a terrible actor. 2:35
Mall Cop Response – After Mike V. taunts and assaults Blart in the previous featurette, Blart sits down and records his thoughts on the situation. Cute again. 1:47
Free Running vs. Parkour – This was cool, it shows some behind the scenes with the two free runners in the film. And apparantly free running is different from Parkour, but that is never fully explained here…which is strange given the title… 3:11
Thoughts With Kevin James – Kevin James sits down and talks about his younger years and what going to the mall meant to him, and talks about growing his moustache. 2:14
Sugar – Preceded by this statement: “We filmed this while the mall was open and full of people.” This follows the free runner as he runs through the mall, jumping over shoppers and various obstacles…only to find that he’s bringing Paul Blart a packet of sugar. lolz 1:53
Deleted Scenes – There are 10 of these, and the only one worthwhile is the first one which shows Blart in a Cosby sweater trying to film a video to post on a dating website. It’s cute enough and the others are completely skippable. Total run time for all 10 is 12:30.
Feature Commentary with Kevin James and producer Todd Garner.
Cinechat – A fairly new (and really cool) Sony exclusive feature that allows users to send a link via e-mail to either their PC or smart phone so they can set up chat sessions with friends and watch the movie together. I’ll be considering joining this service.
Previews – Blu-Ray Disc commercial, Click, The House Bunny, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Ghostbusters on BD, 50 First Dates, Hitch, RV, Hancock
Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a film that will either grow on you or be completely forgettable. I saw this in theaters and gave it 2 stars, but when I rewatched on Blu-Ray I had to increase my rating to 3 stars as I found it much less annoying the second time around. The extras on the Blu-Ray disc are repetitive and mostly unnecessary, but I have to give them props for a fun menu screen featuring a tiny Blart weaving his way through hallways to get to the next menu option and for fully utilizing the features of a BD release. Even though it’s mediocre, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is worth a look.
Sony Pictures presents Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Directed by: Steve Carr. Starring: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Shirley Knight, Raini Rodriguez. Written by: Kevin James, Nick Bakay. Running time: 91 minutes. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: May 19, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Kevin James, Seth Rogen