A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire TV Club
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Paul Blart: Mall Cop



Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Director: Steve Carr
Runtime: 90 minutes
Rating: PG
Cast: Kevin James, Bobby Cannavale, Allen Covert

Community Grade (10 Users)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade


Ah, the privileges of being Adam Sandler's pal. Perks include supporting roles and screenwriting credits in his films, access to his Scrooge McDuck-style money vault and famous abundance of silly voices, and, for a lucky few, a Sandler-produced vehicle courtesy of his Happy Madison production company. Kevin James has much more going for him than most Sandler cronies: a stand-up career, a long-running sitcom (King Of Queens), and a co-lead in Sandler's I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry for starters. But with Paul Blart: Mall Cop, James has been given the same kind of ramshackle, half-assed vehicle Happy Madison previously lavished on the likes of Allen Covert (who co-stars here) and David Spade.

James, who also co-wrote the script (no doubt with an uncredited polish by Robert Towne), stars as a mustachioed single father and dedicated shopping center security guard covered with a coating of sadness and desperation so thick and oppressive its sheen can probably be detected from other galaxies. When the mall is taken over by a gang of insanely acrobatic criminals that seems to have emerged from an '80s skateboarding movie, James makes a startling transformation from sad sack to supercop. Plausibility is Mall Cop's first and most brutally dispatched casualty.

Where most Happy Madison productions are crude gag fests with a perfunctory emotional streak, Mall Cop is a shamelessly sentimental comedy with a few crude gags thrown in arbitrarily. With his gelatinous physique and hangdog persona, James suggests Ernest Borgnine's Marty more readily than Sandler's rage-prone man-children. Mall Cop is defined more by pathos than raunch, though in its second half, the film turns into a stale riff on Die Hard. James has a sweet, appealing presence, but the dreary, joke-light script and generic direction do him no favors. He and his collaborators have given the title character a funny name, a funny mustache, a funny job, and a funny Segway to scoot around on. They merely neglected to give him anything funny to say or do.