In 2009, Kevin James worked together with Steve Carr to come up with “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”. The movie was an unexpected box office success, grossing 31.8 million USD in its opening week and accumulated 138 million USD in worldwide ticket sales. As expected, it spawned a sequel.
In the sequel, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”, James reprises his role as Paul Blart, the security guard at West Orange Pavilion Mall. This time, the film takes the setting of the movie out of New Jersey and moves it to Las Vegas, where Blart is scheduled to attend a Security Guard Expo with his beloved teenage daughter Maya (played by Raini Rodriguez). The movie takes place in Wynn Hotel, where Blart inadvertently discovers a criminal group trying to smuggle all the famous and expensive paintings and sculptures from the hotel.
Now that you know how the movie goes, it’s time for me to begin the review.
Admittedly, I am no fan of the comedy genre, but solid comedies like the “Night at the Museum” film series have persuaded me to give it a try. I do not oppose watching it but most of the time, I do not enjoy it either. So, as someone who did not watch the first “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” movie, and did not even bother to keep up with news regarding the sequel, I went into the cinema with zero expectations.
To be honest, I liked how the movie started and it instantly hooked me in. Not going to spoil anything, but the opening was pretty fast-paced and skipped from one scene to another, which kept me on my toes. There was also a twist right at the beginning that I swear would make you jump out of your seats.
The introduction played an important part, as it showed the audience the reason for Blart’s loneliness and also hesitance to allow his daughter to stray far from him. The reason was echoed several times throughout the movie and serves as the main push for the premise. I have no complaints there as the base was solid enough. It made things believable because it is something which I believe everyone can relate to.
After that solid scene, I expected the movie to be spectacular, yet I was set for disappointment as nothing really stood out.
The movie mainly focused on Blart’s relationship with his daughter, and this premise has been played to death in several comedies. Blart’s daughter has been admitted into the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is reluctant to inform her father of the news because she doesn’t want to leave him alone. As hard as she tries to hide it from her father, he finds out eventually. A huge part of the film concentrates on this father and child conflict, with him objecting to it and her insisting to follow her dreams.
Although the story is told from Blart’s point-of-view, you start to root for his daughter as the movie progresses. It is hard for us to sympathise with Blart because his antics can sometimes come off as annoying and juvenile.
I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Divina Martinez, The Wynn’s hotel manager. Although the character comes off as exaggerated, her over-the-top actions were what made her endearing. Daniella Alonso, who played Martinez, successfully pulled the character off without making her irritating.
Neal McDonough plays the villain of the film, who is only known as Vincent. The character is a typical antagonist, who intimidates everyone with just his words. You wouldn’t expect it, but a scene towards the end of the movie, which involves Vincent, brought one of the biggest laughs in the movie.
All in all, I would say that the movie falls below average. It does provide laughter, but it is scarce and would elicit chuckles rather than hearty laughs.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is slated for release on 7th May.