“They say overweight people use humor to gain attention.”
For the first time ever, I was happy to be crammed into the smallest theater in my local cinema. To experience the same amount of pain in such a claustrophobic location with a theater full of obnoxious, pimpled pre-teens and wheezing rug rats. With the imbecile adults laughing only at the most drastic attempts at physical comedy. It’s actually a rather idyllic situation for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Be loved or hated for what you are. Personally, I loathed this unneeded and unrelenting sequel. This film is as disinterested with itself as it is with its audience, and the results – a pack of easily impressed hyenas laughing at pointless debauchery – are as successful as a square block toy trying to be squeezed through the round hole. Paul Blart is, without a doubt, not only one of the worst Happy Madison productions (which is saying something), but an altogether abominable attempt at storytelling.
This was my first adventure with Paul Blart. The original never screamed out to me to be seen, and while it can’t be any worse than this sequel, I can’t imagine it’s that much better either. Officer Paul Blart (Kevin James) gets invited to a security guard conference in Las Vegas, and since his marriage lasted only 6 days, it’s just him and his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez). There’s a bad guy who wants to steal priceless paintings from the casino resort, and after Maya accidentally gets involved Paul must come to the rescue. The movie has no plot really. Paul Blart is more of a collection of sight gags and offensively fat-shaming jokes. We get it, he eats a lot. There is no need to present us with a buffet of one-liners with the only intention to remind us that the main characters are a little heavy. “We’re all big, we’re Blarts,” Paul says over lunch with Maya. With the tagline being “The stakes have been raised,” I’m surprised they didn’t replace it with “steaks” and pat themselves on the belly for the amusing wordplay.
As a moviegoer, I couldn’t have been more disappointed by what the audience found funny. The hardest laughs came from a fist fight with a bird. Their howls reverberated against the walls when Paul’s mom is hit by a milk truck and killed, and when he inadvertently punches an old maid in the gut. Director Andy Fickman settles for last place because there are no higher expectations for him, no hope of being picked first. Which is strange, because Paul Blart is an egocentric, obnoxious, and altogether unlikable character. Maya pours her heart out to her dad in a restaurant…of course. Paul’s response is to remain sedentary and selfish, slowly continuing to chomp away at his complimentary bread while his daughter cries. And later on when his hypoglycemia renders him unconscious on the casino floor, he resorts to laying open-mouthed under a toddler’s dripping ice cream cone. It’s his Popeye spinach, his Jordan Belfort superhuman reaction to cocaine.
Paul Blart only exists to put Kevin James’ antics on display. Much of it serves neither the story or his character, and it’s upsetting to see James stoop to this level. He’s a hilarious comic and has the soft front to make his dramatic moments seem genuine. But lately he has typecast himself as Hollywood’s go-to klutz and imbecile. That’s not him. James is a large man, yet you can tell he’s athletic and graceful. So when he’s bumbling around and running into doors and tumbling down a set of stairs while stowed away inside a suitcase, you get the sense that you’re watching a talented man squander his talents for cheap laughs. We get glimpses while he zips around on his trademark Segway. Other than that, Paul Blart will go down not only as one of the most unnecessary sequels, but one of the worst. I saw this so that you don’t have to, and knowing that I paid for admission made me feel like an accomplice to murder.
“I’m just not ready for public consumption.”
Rating: 0 out of 5