“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is the follow-up no one asked to from the 2009 film, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”. Written by and starring Kevin James, the film follows Paul Blart (whom, if you haven’t guessed by now, is a mall cop) to Las Vegas where he attends a security guard convention. While there, he discovers a plan for thieves to steal precious art, and must step up to save the day. Neal McDonough plays the villain as Andy Fickman directs.
I enjoyed the first “Paul Blart” for what it was. It wasn’t too serious and featured enough solid laughs to be worth a one-time watch. But near everything that worked about the first film, and by everything, I mean all the funny and charming actors including Bobby Cannavale and Stephen Rannazzi, are gone. Jayma Mays, who played Blart’s love interest, even chose not to return for this sequel and this is the same woman who said yes to “Smurfs” 1 and 2, so you know she’s willing to make trashy franchises. All this leaves “Paul Blart 2” with little to play with, and the result is a film that has little entertainment.
First things first, the film tries too hard to be funny, and there is nothing more desperate and unappealing than trying too hard (just ask any woman). Right from the opening scene, Blart’s mother (played by two-time Oscar nominee Shirley Knight) is run over by a milk truck—for laughs. Sure, you may smirk at the shock value of it, but the film treats what should be a horrific moment in Blart’s life as a punchline, and then keeps on doing so for the rest of the film. I also lost track at the amount of fat jokes in here.
Deep down, somewhere in this movie, there are a few jokes that work, like when cliché bad guy Neal McDonough (who is by far the film’s biggest asset) and Blart are having a yelling match about who is crazier, and McDonough goes, “I have two different colored eyeballs, because that’s how I live my life!” (I don’t know, I chuckled). But for every well thought out one-liner, there are a dozen, or baker’s dozen, because fat jokes, that fall flat. For example, when Blart beats one bad guy and says, “Always bet on Blart”, I cringed. All this leads up to a final act that is so ludicrous, and so full of terrible CGI, that it made me almost angry.
This is produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production team, so it should come as little shock that it is an unfunny comedy, featuring stale jokes, shameless product placement, and exotic locations so that the actors can vacation while they happen to film a movie.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is far from the worst movie of 2015 (4+ months in and “50 Shades of Grey” still holds that distinction), and I chuckled a few times, but it really is a struggle to get through. Numerous times throughout the film, fellow security guards tell Blart that no one cares about him and what he did six years ago; audiences don’t care, either. This isn’t stupid fun like the first film; it’s just plain stupid.
“Avengers,” you cannot come soon enough…
Critics Rating: 4/10