The Hippo


Sep 23, 2019








Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (PG)
Film reviews by Amy Diaz

By Amy Diaz

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (PG)

Kevin James returns to offer up the broadest possible broad (mostly physical) comedy in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, a sequel to the 2009 movie I’d mostly forgotten.
In particular, James and the movie seem to base at least half of the laughs on funny things James can do with his mustache and belly. You probably couldn’t get all of this movie’s gags by watching it with the sound off, but you could get a good portion of them.
Paul Blart (James), security officer at a New Jersey mall, ended the last movie on a life high point — he turned down his dream job with the police to stay and protect the mall and he married his first-movie love interest, played by Jayma Mays. Apparently, Mays had better things to do than appear in this movie, because in 2’s opening scenes we learn that she divorced Paul after six days of marriage, after which Paul’s mother (played by Shirley Knight) was hit by a bus. A grief-stricken Paul is saved from utter loneliness only by Maya (Raini Rodriguez), his teenage daughter. Maya, however, has her own plans, which include going to college at UCLA, which has just accepted her. She rushes to tell her dad the news but decides to keep it a secret after he shares his own news: he’s been invited to a security officers conference in Las Vegas and he’s bringing her with him. 
Since Las Vegas isn’t all that different from a giant mall, Paul Blart eventually finds himself in the familiar situation of bringing together a dedicated band of security officers to thwart an art heist run by the villainous Vincent (Neal McDonough, who is an old hand at being a slightly unhinged villain, thanks in part to Justified). Of course, a little crime and mayhem is nothing compared to his learning that not only is Maya planning to go to college across the country but also that, gasp, she’d rather hang out with a cute boy (David Henrie) she meets in Vegas than with her dad and his security officer brethren.
A family sitting behind me in the theater where I saw this movie laughed at the moments of wacky dad humor (hiding behind a luggage cart to spy on Maya and her new friend, for example), the moments of wacky James physical comedy (he wriggles across the floor to catch a few drops of melting ice cream falling from a kid’s cone because his low blood sugar has felled him like Superman wearing kryptonite bling) and the moments of situational wackiness (like the climactic face-off between Vincent’s interchangeable henchmen and a group of security officers). I didn’t find any of these scenes particularly funny but I understand why they might be funny, particularly if you’re looking for a low-pressure comedy that the whole family over the age of, say, 10 can watch together. (And yes, you probably have seen all of those scenes I mentioned in the trailers. This is the kind of movie where the trailer isn’t just the highlights but a better-edited, preferable-in-length version of the movie.)
It’s unfair (to sitcoms) to compare this movie to a laugh-tracked sitcom; Paul Blart doesn’t quite hit the comedy level of James’ own late-1990s, early-aughts show The King of Queens. The movie feels more like a calculated business decision (it will eventually earn, you know, enough) than a story that needed to be told about this character. If anything, Paul is an even thinner, less dimensional character than in the first movie. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 succeeds only at not being offensive or aggressively terrible and offering those family members who are bored by the sub-par antics an hour and a half of potential sleep time. C-
Rated PG for some violence. Directed by Andy Flickman and written by Kevin James & Nick Bakay, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is an hour and 34 minutes long and distributed by Columbia Pictures. 

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