Movie Reviews by Reel People: 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2'

By Ron and Leigh Martel, Columnists, The Friday Flyer


It’s only April and there’s already a strong contender for Worst Picture of the Year. Funnyman Kevin James went to great lengths for his trifecta of bad writing, producing and acting in this excruciating fiasco. We’re fans of Kevin James and Paul Blart (the 2009 original), so we were more than disappointed to get so little funny for our money.

It’s sad when such a comical talent is dying on the screen and each gag lands with a resounding thud. If on the stage, he’d be tapping the microphone after each punch line pleading, “Hey, is this thing on?” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is so “a-Pauling” it could be called, “Try Hard with a Vengeance,” or “Paul Blart gets Malled.” Hey, is this thing on?

Remember that lovable, kind-hearted, “husky” lunk in the original film? Maybe Paul Blart ate him. Our hero might now be the arrogant, obnoxious winner of “America’s Biggest Loser” (not the TV show). Worse yet, the rest of the cast is so laughable (uh, no); so inept, that the most likeable characters are the villains, specifically journeyman Neal McDonough, as the crime boss, and the steely-eyed D.B. Woodside as his henchman.

As we “Segway” from the original, Blart’s marriage has dissolved so quickly, he could be an honorary Kardashian. We then watch his mother get run over by a speeding truck. That gag has been done a dozen times, not funny after the first five times, and in terribly bad taste for the opening of a kid-flick. Then, daughter Maya hides acceptance to UCLA so dear old dad won’t have to be alone; just what every teenage girl would do.

Returning as daughter Maya, Raini Rodriguez, star of Disney teen shows, is terribly miscast here again. She’s not alone. Blart’s new potential love interest is international super-model Daniella Alonso, as Davina, the hotel manager. Davina just can’t keep her paws off the stupor-hero, but who can blame her? Are we right ladies?

Filmed primarily at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Steve Wynn (making a cameo) reaps a 94-minute product placement ad for the resort and its featured show, “Cirque du Soleil: Le Reve.” This is the venue for the security guard convention to which Blart has been invited. Naturally, this “humble” schmuck assumes he’ll be presenting the keynote address.

There, he meets guards from other regions of our country. They recall the heroics of several years prior on that fateful Black Friday, in the mall of West Orange, NJ. This group of stereotypical “rejects” could be fun and funny. One guy even looks like that old cartoon host, Shrimpenstein. These guys are given very little to do, but in their few scenes, they either over-act or sleepwalk through their lines.

After the first 20 minutes, we noted a very slow start, it happens. After an hour, we were ready to write that the second half makes the wait worthwhile. Then, we reluctantly resigned ourselves that it just wasn’t going to happen, just as the cast did early on. We then asked ourselves if this was directed to any audience under the age of about 8? We quickly concluded there was pretty much something missing for everyone.

Some comedies are so flawed, they make the audience frustrated, insulted or upset. But, the writing, direction and acting here is so lethargic, the audience was simply motionless; almost stoic. We’ve seen more lively audiences at funerals. This one is so lackluster, it could probably even compose a Meet the Candidates audience.

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is 94 minutes and rated PG for some violence. This time, the funny guy wasn’t funny, but we still think Kevin James is a likeable buffoon. We will probably watch his next feature, just not another Paul Blart, who utters these painful words to his peers, “Why do we do it?”

We were expecting all-you-can-eat humor but got a big fat nothing-burger. If anticipating another sequel, we’d say slim chance. Some movies are so bad they are immediately forgettable, but this one is special. Do you think we can get it off our minds? Fat chance.

Ron’s Rating: F Leigh’s Rating: F