Movie Review: ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ (Blu-ray)

Kevin James in 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop' (Supplied publicity photo, 2009)

Kevin James in 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop' (Supplied publicity photo, 2009)

Most of us have seen the Die Hard-like movies in which an ordinary cop finds himself in a dangerous situation requiring extraordinary heroism. But what if the expected hero is an overweight mall security guard?

Paul Blart (Kevin James) has failed all attempts to join the city's police force because he has hypoglycemia, which causes him to pass out at any given time. So instead he's settled for a job as a mall cop, which he takes very seriously. He's also a very committed single father but his daughter is ready to share him with another woman. Coincidentally, Amy (Jayma Mays) has just started working at the mall. After sabotaging several attempts to get to know her better, Paul gets his chance – she's taken hostage during a robbery and he's going to rescue her. The thieves, who have taken their names from Santa's reindeer, are skilfully travelling through the mall to steal debit card numbers.

Mall Cop is somewhat of a situational comedy in which all the things you’d expect to happen do; this combined with the trailer did not leave a lot to discover. Most of the non-physical comedy is related to Paul's weight but avoids being cruel. Additionally, Paul forms a strange relationship over a bedazzled pink cell phone with Pahud (Adhir Kalyan), a young woman's heartbroken boyfriend. In the end, everything works out for the "average Joe."

Filmmakers make an interesting attempt to distinguish its film from others by using action sport athletes as the robbers. Skateboarders, BMX riders and free runners perform various tricks while implementing their plan and trying to dispose of Paul. This addition makes for an entertaining aspect of the story.

The special features include audio commentary by James, who also co-wrote the narrative, and producer Todd Garner, which plays like a conversation between the two. There are 10 deleted scenes, including a little boy Paul makes uncomfortable when he won't hug him, a couple more fun exchanges with Pahud, and an explanation of roles in the robbery by Veck (Keir O’Donnell). In addition, there are 10 featurettes that run approximately five minutes each; most of these are about the X-gamers and free runners, including a few videos shot by BMX-er Mike Escamilla. The BD Live feature is CineChat, in which people can talk on-screen with each other during the movie via a messenger-like chat program.

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