Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It doesn't take much to turn Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 into a harrowing horror film

When Paul Thomas Anderson directed Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love, he exploited the comedian’s apoplectic man-boy shenanigans for high drama, as all it takes is some silly sound effects to turn violent gesticulations into physical comedy. That much is clear in this recut trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the widely reviled sequel to the movie that helped Kevin James usurp Rob Schneider as Hollywood’s preeminent bargain-bin yuckster.


Against an ominous symphonic score, James’ angry-fatty-falls-down-goes-boom schtick registers as utterly psychotic, raising some resonant themes of America’s penchant for giving badges (and, by extension, unchecked authority) to the unhinged. Because it’s not just a gun he’s wielding here, but a stun gun, a bow and arrow, and even his own meaty fists, which he uses to slug an elderly woman in the gut. It’s hard to imagine how some of these jaunt, violent “boink” sounds were even funny in the context of the Blartverse.

It’s worth noting (again) that this bleak Paul Blart redux actually has a very real filmic analog, and it’s Observe And Report, the nutjob mall security movie Seth Rogen and Jody Hill actually got made in 2009.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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