Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) / Comedy-Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG for some violence
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Gary Valentine, Ana Gasteyer, Daniella Alonso, Eduardo Verastegui, Neal McDonough, David Henrie, Loni Love, Nicholas Turturro, D.B. Woodside, Shelly Desai
Director: Andy Fickman
Screenplay: Kevin James, Nick Bakay
Review published April 17, 2015
The biggest question I have regarding this film about a man sworn to protect consumers from harm is, who protects consumers from him?
I wasn't a fan of the original Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but after watching its sequel, it sure seems like a great comedy by comparison. At least it had a few laughs. This one merely regurgitates the leftover gags from the first film -- Blart's low-blood sugar narcolepsy, his pratfalls, his adeptness with the Segway, his delusions of grandeur, his taking his job seriously to the point of absurdity -- and only offers a new location to the mix, and one that makes very little sense to maintain its "Mall Cop" secondary title.
When we first see Blart (James, Hotel Transylvania) in this film, his wife from the first film has filed from divorce just six days in (Jayma Mays opted not to sign on for the sequel), and he has continued in his position at West Orange Pavilion Mall in New Jersey. He then loses his mother to a tragic milk-truck accident, leaving him with just his daughter Maya (Rodriguez, "Austin & Ally") to keep him from utter loneliness. But that's not to be for long, as she has just been accepted to UCLA, which she keeps from her dear old dad while she agrees to accompany him to a convention of security officers held in Las Vegas. Plenty of bumbling hijinks ensue, including a plot within the Wynn Casino's very own establishment as a group of highly skilled thieves are about to hatch a plot to replace the high-price artwork on the premises with replicas.
Coming out six years after the original, it is too little, too late, as most who were even mildly amused by the first entry have moved on to other, greener pastures for laughs. It certainly feels like an afterthought, and this vehicle only knows one pitch, and that's to allow Kevin James to mug, fall, and say things only an ignoramus would say on the hopes you just find his delivery funny -- no need for anything actually witty in the screenplay to support him. Every scene is set up to explore the four of five basic facets about Blart that we know, so, basically, that means every scene will involve food, injuries, security officer tech, or shallow misunderstandings.
The problems are multitudinous, but the one that is most unforgiveable is that, in the six years since the last film, the creators concocted nothing funny during that lengthy hiatus to add to that which came before. Unless you want to see the 2009 film in a new location without the sporadic laughs, I suppose you've gotten your wish. They say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but it appears in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, all of the 'funny' that could have happened stayed in New Jersey.
©2015 Vince Leo