Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Grossly Disappointing, 14 July 2010

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Trite, banal, unfunny , sentimental and predictable, this film also has some bad points. Kevin James plays Mall Cop, Paul Blart in the lovable loser fat guy role so beloved of the late John Candy. Director Steve Carr has failed to distinguish himself in previous comedies such as “Daddy Day Care” and “Dr Doolittle 2”. This will have done nothing to enhance his reputation as a comedic director.

Comedy requires love for character. But Carr ladles so much syrupy schmaltz into this script that the viewer is reaching for the sick bag way before any fond laughter is reached. Blart’s role as a fat failure borders on the offensive, his failure with girls is cringe worthy, and his heroic efforts to thwart a gang of Mall Robbers unconvincing. Naturally, his daughter plays the cute kid rooting for her single parent Dad to come good – and get the girl.

A formulaic sub plot underpins proceedings. The good guy can overcome the odds to succeed. Being fat and hopeless doesn’t stop you getting the girl- so long as you have a good heart. The bad guys always get their comeuppance, even the old school bully. Aimed squarely at a family audience the violence is comic book, and no-one actually gets hurt. Yet the pantomime charm of “Home Alone” is missing, mainly down to an awful script, and a lamentable supporting cast.

The idea of the unsung hero coming good against the bad guys is fine, and the dramatic possibilities of action in an empty shopping mall have been exploited before to good effect, not least in Zombies films. But Carr simply does not have the expertise, or the script, to exploit the raw materials. James isn’t bad as Blart – but everything else is, in a film which is a very long 90 minutes. A big fat dud

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