Rated PG for some violence, mild crude and suggestive humor, and language, 87 minutes
"Mall Cop" is silly, mediocre nonsense
"Paul Blart: Mall Cop" is one of those films where if you've seen the trailers for the film, then you've pretty much seen the movie. Silly, mediocre fun at best, "Mall Cop" comes from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison productions and stars Sandler pal and "King of Queens" star Kevin James. The portly, engaging James is a naturally funny comedian and you'll see loads of his pratfalls and mildly funny shtick in "Mall Cop," which is sweeter, sillier and less lowbrow than you might think but still very thin and tiresome.
James is Blart, a single dad living with his Mom (Shirley Knight) and young daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez). He's a nice, mild-mannered guy who works as a security officer at a local mall. He's longed to be a real cop but his weight problems keep him from passing the exam. Blart is a bit - unsurprisingly - a loser when it comes to relationships too - though he does have a crush on Amy (Jayma Mays) a new mall employee who manages a wig kiosk.
Blart takes his job way too seriously, carousing the mall on his little scooter thing and training a mysterious new security officer named Veck (Keir O'Donnell, the weird dude from "Wedding Crashers"). Some bad guys take over the mall and threaten to steal millions of dollars and take hostages, including Amy and Maya. It's up to Blart to come in and save the day and show his skills as a real officer, in spite of a smart-aleck SWAT officer (Bobby Cannavale), who has his own ideas about how the situation should be handled.
"Mall Cop" is co-written by James and directed by "Are We Done Yet?" director Steve Carr and they try to give some semblance of a story line to the film, but it's really a string of episodes to show off the comic presence of James, who gets to carry his very first film by himself. James falls over the place in some mildly amusing antics but can't help the fact that "Mall Cop" isn't really a great film and has little to offer outside the mall.
For what it's worth, for a film from Sandler's production company and considering that Sandler and James starred in the vile, offensive "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" together, "Mall Cop" is relatively inoffensive and has some sweet moments, which is a nice but altogether bland touch. It's unfortunate that "Mall Cop" couldn't be better given that James is a decent comedian (it is funny seeing himself slide across the floor in the mall), but the story simply runs out of gags quickly to an even more highly improbable climax, with a few twists and turns that can be seen coming well before they happen.
"Paul Blart: Mall Cop" is suitable for most of the family, but you won't remember much of it after it's over.