Come one, come all! It’s time for Cinematic Crap Fest, where we look at a notoriously bad movie that forever lives in shame. Let’s relive the pain together.
TODAY’S CRAP FEST: In honor of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, we have no choice but to look at the film that started it all: the Kevin James “classic” – Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
Set-Up: Kevin James is fat, so let’s make a movie where he crashes into things for 90 minutes. Any more questions?
Starring: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O’Donnell, Raini Rodriguez, Stephen Rannazzisi, Bobby Cannavale.
The Director: Steve Carr (Daddy Day Care, Dr. Dolittle 2)
Aside from the comedic mastery of Daddy Day Care and Dr. Dolittle 2, Carr was also one of the directors on Movie 43. Any more questions?
The Kevin James Of It All: While very successful, I haven’t met many people who find Kevin James particularly amusing. Whenever he’s brought up in a film, I tend to hear a collective groan. I don’t have anything against the man, but the guy simply isn’t funny. It seems like he’s made millions of dollars for being fat, which I guess you have to envy to some extent. Chris Farley was fat too, but also a comedic genius. There’s a difference. In fact, if Chris Farley was still with us, and you put him in Paul Blart: Mall Cop, it could have been a classic. Based on box office numbers though, many people clearly found Kevin James appealing, so let’s take a gander at the wonder that is Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
Fat Jokes – The Movie: At least the film makes it clear from the start it will be nothing but fat jokes. The very first scene of the movie is Paul Blart running a police obstacle course in slow motion as he sweats and bounces all over the place. Even after this sequence, Blart sits down with his mom and daughter to talk extensively about what he wants on his pie, so there you have it. What else do you want me to say at this point? Fat Jokes: The Movie.
Laziest Joke In The Film: Blart tries to run through a glass door, but falls down. He’s fat, so it’s supposed to be funny. It’s no mystery that breaking into the world of film is extremely difficult to do, and you have to be extraordinarily talented to even get a sniff – then you watch scenes like this. Sigh.
Worst Performance: Despite Kevin James garnering little to no laughs, he still wasn’t the worst element to this film. The main villain (Keir O’Donnell) is awful. Granted it’s not all his fault as the script he was given was absolutely putrid, but whereas Kevin James was simply not funny, Veck (O’Donnell) gloriously crashed and burned. They try and make him this whip smart, charismatic villain, but he’s devoid of any personality whatsoever. The villains in general completely sucked. You have a movie about an over zealous, overweight mall security guard, but the bad guys we get are complete stock. Where are Harry and Marv from Home Alone for crying out loud! You had to go zany with this! What a blunder.
The Cringe-Worthy Moment: Paul Blart gets beat up by an obese woman, and it’s done in really poor taste. It’s one of those scenes where it’s so bad, you actually feel awkward while watching it. This type of comedy was done brilliantly in Married With Children, but Paul Blart: Mall Cop is no Married with Children.
The Saving Grace: Stephen Rannazzisi makes an appearance as a douchey pen salesman, and at least made something out of nothing. I enjoy Rannazzisi’s work from The League, so it was nice to see someone talented in this picture. Bobby Cannavale was alright as well.
The Worst Scene: While the fight was cringe-worthy, the scene where he gets drunk at American Joe’s is absolutely terrible. It’s Kevin James bumbling around like an ignoramus. Where the comedy really falls short though is that this scene could have passed for drama. Yeah. It’s sad watching this guy lose his cool. The problem is they want you to laugh here. The tone is all over the place. It drives you away from the character, as opposed to sympathizing with him.
Worst Line: “Scuba-dooby-doo!”
Oh, for crying out loud. Really?
My Big Gripe: To put it bluntly, it’s not funny. Paul Blart: Mall Cop plays it safe. It’s unashamed to go for the low hanging fruit of fat jokes. It’s this film’s aggressive blandness that makes me hate it more. While Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a better film than Movie 43, there’s part of me that respects Movie 43 more for at least attempting risky jokes. Granted they were atrocious, but at least they tried. There’s nothing wrong with having a simple comedic premise. Tommy Boy is very simple, but the difference is that Tommy Boy is funny. Paul Blart: Mall Cop never made me laugh out loud once, and for a movie that’s only 90 minutes long, it felt slow. That’s the sign of a bad film.
The Legacy of Crap: While Paul Blart: Mall Cop was liked in its 15 minutes of fame, it’s already been forgotten. This sequel really baffles me as I think the world has moved on from Paul Blart: Mall Cop. If you’re going to capitalize on a comedy’s success, it should have been cranked out in two years. Six years later for this? Come on. Then again, due to lack of competition, it might do okay. At the end of the day though, everything associated with Paul Blart: Mall Cop will be in a Wal-Mart bargain bin within five years.
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.