Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
2015, PG, 94 min. Directed by Andy Fickman. Starring Kevin James, Neal McDonough, Ana Gasteyer, Raini Rodriguez.
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., April 24, 2015
The funniest thing about Paul Blart (James) is his name, and that’s just a carryover from the first film, which came out in 2009 and made buckets of money, hence this unnecessary sequel. Here, the “action” – and that is a very generous word for what transpires over the course of 94 punishing minutes – moves from the New Jersey mall under security guard Blart’s barely competent watch to Las Vegas, where Blart goes to attend a mall-cop convention with his daughter (Rodriguez) and stumbles onto a gang of thieves intent on stealing priceless art from the hotel’s collection.
This movie depressed the shit out of me. Not because it has roughly the same production values and fat-man-falls-down! comedic nuance as a Disney Channel original movie. (Although I’d still rather be clobbered – Clockwork Orange-like, peeled eyeballs and all – by a 48-hour marathon of Disney’s Dog With a Blog then sit through another indifferent Blart installment.) And not because it so blatantly exists solely to make money. (Hey, it’s the Hollywood way!) What’s most dispiriting about this garbage burger is its nonsensical characterization of Blart himself (co-scripted by James and Nick Bakay). In his best roles – which I suspect are now behind him – James has managed to convey an essential decency. However, Blart’s not just pathetic but delusional; also: an imbecile, an embarrassment, and a sac of profound sadness who’s treated with a sneer by his own makers. He’s Principal Rooney. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Bill Lumbergh. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 doesn’t believe in the worthiness of its own hero. Why should we?