Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Gallagher’s Forum

By Jon Gallagher

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Columbia, 2015) – Director: Andy Fickman. Writers: Kevin James, Nick Bakay (s/p and characters). Stars: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Eduardo Verastegui, Daniella Alonso, Neil McDonough, David Henrie, D.B. Woodside, Nicholas Turturro, Loni Love, Gary Valentine, Ana Gasteyer, Shelly Desai, Steffiana De La Cruz, Adhir Kalyan, & Bob Clendenin. Color, 94 minutes, PG.

This is not the type of movie that I usually spend money to see. However, given the chance by my oldest daughter to see it with her and my grandchildren, I jumped at the chance. I’m hooked up to oxygen 24/7 so the opportunity to go to a theater to see a movie doesn’t present itself that often. The fact that it was playing across the street along with the company I’d be keeping weighed heavily in the decision to go see this film.

This movie will never be mistaken for any sort of classic. We won’t hear the title in any discussion at or about the Academy Awards. No one will disseminate the movie for great plot twists, nor will they praise anyone for superb acting. The whole purpose of this movie was to make people forget about life for an hour and a half and perhaps get a few chuckles from them.

Given that purpose, the movie does what it set out to do.

This is a Kevin James comedy vehicle, plain and simple. If you don’t like his subtle, “I’m taking myself way too seriously with my tongue in cheek acting” humor, combined with seemingly endless slapstick humor and sight gags, then you won’t enjoy this movie at all. You have been warned.

James reprises his role as Paul Blart, the mall security guard who takes himself and his job WAY too seriously. This time, he and his daughter are in Las Vegas at a national convention of rent-a-cops and he expects to be the keynote speaker for the gala. His daughter, who is getting ready to go off to college, rebels against her over-protective father and ends up getting kidnapped by a band of high-tech art thieves who are there to loot the hotel of its pricy art collection.

It’s up to our hero to gain the respect of his peers, solve the crime (which the hotel doesn’t even know is happening) and save his daughter, all while using his finely honed skills and a lot of new gadgets that are on sale or demo for the convention.

Neal McDonough (Band of Brothers) plays Vincent, the villain of the piece, and he does an okay job as the tongue-in-cheek bad guy. There’s just so much you can do with a role like this short of turning it down.

I’ll have to admit that towards the end of the movie, the choreographed fight scene between Blart’s Legion of Super Rent-a-Cops and the Assembled Bad Guys is quite entertaining, if not predictable at times. Still, there are enough chuckles during the scene to keep it interesting and entertaining.

There are times when you don’t want to see an overly dramatic movie. There are times when you don’t care about the acting. There are times when you just want to sit down and see a “stupid-silly” movie, and this one fits the bill.

I enjoyed it for what it was. The grandkids laughed most of the way through it and at no time was I embarrassed by what was happening on screen.

I wouldn’t pay big money to go see it in a theater (our small theater is $5 a seat). As for renting it, I’d wait till it was not quite new and pick it up for a discounted price at the local video store.

I’ll give it a B-. I was expecting a lot worse.

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