Paul Blart: Mall Cop
- Eddie Harrison
- 19 March 2009
The latest delivery from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production line, Paul Blart: Mall Cop features Sandler’s regular cohort Kevin James as a big-hearted, small-time lawman. Blart takes on a gang of acrobatic skateboarding thieves after a lengthy set up introducing him as an over-zealous store detective, riding a Segway with aplomb and conducting himself considerably less gracefully in his relationships with his mother (Shirley Knight) and daughter Maya (Rani Rodriguez).
Despite the vanilla blandness of the conceit, James provides a likeable enough hero, and the use of Barry Manilow’s ‘Weekend in New England’ and Survivor’s anthem ‘I Can’t Hold Back’ effectively nails Paul Blart’s affectionate critique of 80s machismo. Director Steve Carr’s film plays best as a knockabout parody of the Die Hard genre, using the setting of a New Jersey shopping mall to rework familiar action clichés with a domestic twist. While offering Home Alone style slapstick for younger viewers, older viewers may appreciate such scattered moments of self-referential wit as when Blart collapses through the mall’s ceiling only to have his fall broken by a ball-swamp, or attaches a child’s sticking-plaster to his arm in a deadpan parody of Rambo stitching up his wounds.
General release from Fri 20 Mar.