Many times when I hear a sequel is coming, I cringe in fear at the horrors that studios may churn out. Often many follow ups to a film series pale in comparison to the original, many times being a poor movie overall. Today I hesitantly returned to the theater to see what actor Kevin James had in store for me in the form of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. I can’t say I had my hopes up high for this movie, but you never know what surprises may be in store. So let’s get started shall we?
The first adventure of Blart was a cute, wholesome adventure that was good for some stupid laughs and the notion that anyone can get a happy ending. Unfortunately, they couldn’t leave it there and thought it would be good to send our aspiring cop back into action to hopefully entertain the crowd. Despite my wishes for fun comedy, Paul Blart 2 fails to deliver the same enjoyment the first one did. Most of the jokes are rehashes, many poking at James’ weight and his clumsiness when it comes to chasing down the bad guys. Blart’s obsessions with Segways have lost their appeal, his over-exaggerated stunts just looking stupid and more ridiculous with each pull. Crushing people with his weight is also crosses into the stupid zone, especially when he lays on a woman and wiggles on top of them trying to knock them out. I would have to say the worse things though are Blart’s rambles about justice, honor, and trying to prove he is a tough guy. His monologues go on and on with much of his dialog being extremely simplistic or drawn out that left me rolling my eyes more so than laughing. I can’t lie that I did laugh at a few jokes and antics, mainly the window ramming scene and a few well-timed limericks. As a whole though this movie lost what made the last one fun.
Storywise there was not much improvement. Mall Cop 2 starts out quite sad, and again ridiculous, as Blart’s world is turned upside down twice in terms of family and love. To escape the depression he heads to Vegas for a convention that will hopefully recognize him for his heroism from the first film, which took six years prior to this movie. Once there the story breaks down to three things: Paul trying to stop the bad guys, Paul learning to let go of his daughter, and Paul trying to find himself. The first aspect is rather pathetic, the bad guys are there to steal art for a client, going through little struggle to acquire their precious cargo. In truth, I found these bad guys more boobs than threats, the main guy lacking any real bite with his bleach blonde hair and different colored eyes. Blart’s whole ordeal against them was too easy, and much more diluted than I had hoped to see. The second tale is probably the best part of the movie. Maya (Raini Rodriguez) is about to go to college, leaving her dad alone and without support. Paul must learn the hard lesson of letting go, something I too struggle with, to allow all parties involved to live a better life. While cheesy as it is in this movie, the morale is sweet and helps bring some of the nostalgic charm. The final story of Paul finding himself is not quite as strong. His struggles of accepting himself start out sweet, but quickly fall back to funny as another joke or gag takes place. There are a few exceptions to the rules where Blart makes a motivational speech, or defends the geeks and mocked. Much of this story though has little sustenance and gets hastily wrapped up near the end of this fortunately short movie.
As for acting, James seems to have a lot of fun with this role, immersing himself in the Mall Cop with a heart as big as his body. James seems like a guy who loves to make people laugh and smile, and the younger audience members love his antics. His delivery of some of his lines is spot on, using his voice to really emphasize the puns and small wit the dialog has. What really made me laugh were his facial expressions though. Somehow James just has to look a certain way and I will crack up, maybe it is due to his chubby cheeks or maybe I’m just weird. Either way James can still bring out some funny moments. On the sweet side, he still has that cuddly teddy bear attitude that we all fell in love with during King of Queens. He is a loveable lug who is willing to take verbal abuse to do what is right, and he gets points for playing the underdog role I relate to so well. However, there is no award winning performance, outside a Kid’s Choice Awards, for this role as it is still the same part he always plays. The other cast do their roles okay, but James is the soul of this movie so I won’t go into details on them.
Paul Blart 2 is a movie I describe as could have gone directly to TV. The humor has been reduced to something only young and young at heart will like, and the story can’t back up the rather bland comedy. I still applaud James for his commitment to roles, but not even the big man can save the drab this film is. You can guess that this movie is not recommended for a theater visit, unless you are looking for something to take your kids too. Wait for it to come on basic cable, and save your money for Avengers 2 in the next few weeks.
Paul Blart 2 gets:
Movie Overall: 4.0