Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Year 8, Day 286 - 10/12/16 - Movie #2,464

BEFORE: For anyone who might think, "What's this film doing here?  It's not a horror movie!"  Umm, I respectfully disagree, I'm guessing it's a horror in its own way.  But I taped it to fill up the DVD with "Pixels", and I've got no other place to put it, except between two Kevin James films that ARE more Halloween-based.  So it's here or nowhere - though I'm guessing I'll have preferred "nowhere" before the night is over.

There's going to be another film I watch during October that is also not a horror film, but I'll explain that one when the time comes.

FOLLOW-UP TO: "Paul Blart, Mall Cop" (Movie #572)
THE PLOT:  After six years of keeping our malls safe, Paul Blart has earned a well-deserved vacation. He heads to Vegas with his teenage daughter before she heads off to college. But safety never takes a holiday.

AFTER: I watched the first "Paul Blart" film back in 2010, in a chain that included a bunch of other cop & heist films, like "Training Day", "Firewall", "The Bank Job", "The Real McCoy" and the similarly-themed security guard films, "Observe and Report" and "Armed and Dangerous".  Now this sequel is sandwiched between two Halloween films, and honestly, I couldn't care less.  It's too hard to maintain both actor linking AND thematic linking, one of them's got to give.

Watching this film was just plain excruciating, mostly because the character is so clueless and wrong about everything - like being an overprotective dad, and walking around with this overblown, sense of self-importance.  I don't care if he's covering up his own inadequacies, or this is how he deals with tragic losses, he still comes off like a jerk.  And I don't want to watch a movie about a jerk.  Sure, he's got a good heart, cares about his daughter, blah blah blah, he's still a jerk.  

But he's good at his job, right?  That's what we're supposed to remember about Paul Blart?  Only he succeeds accidentally, right?  Or fails upwards?  Gad, this is confusing, and it's really not worth the time needed to figure out his personality profile.  And who exactly is this movie marketed to, kids?  Right, because kids really want to watch a film about a single parent struggling with a security guard job and his diabetic sugar levels.  Make sure to add some plot points about paying union dues and saving money into retirement accounts while you're at it - kids love that sort of thing.  

Here Blart goes to Vegas for a convention of security professionals, after tragically losing his mother in a milk truck accident.  I think the actress who played his mother made a really smart move by being written out of this sequel, and only appearing in flashback.  Other actors were not so lucky.  But in between carrying in his own luggage (pointless joke) and acting as the "cooler" at the craps table (another bit that goes nowhere), Blart stumbles upon an art heist at the Wynn Casino.  

Or, I should say that his daughter stumbles on it, but this draws him in to the action.  After he finishes giving the emotional keynote speech about the dedication needed to work in the security field.  Again, how does this appeal to kids, who all want to grow up to be astronauts and firemen and politicians and sports stars?

It's just a collection of random things, mostly, like the attack of that weird crane bird, perhaps the most random thing of all.  Plus, Kevin James falls down. Like, a lot.  Beyond that, there's no rhyme nor reason, and the acting is about as subtle as you would expect from people who cut their teeth on Disney Channel comedies.  Zero time is spent on HOW the criminals manage to steal the art, because it scarcely matters.  They've just got gizmos that disable the security, OK?  Let's move on.

When, oh WHEN is Paul Blart going to realize that he's at a security guard convention, with a few hundred other people who could help him defeat the bad guys?  When is he going to remember all the cool technology that was shown to him, quite blatantly, at the convention, with the marbles and the cannon of sticky goo and the tasers and such?  Geez, these plot points had everything but big giant circles around them, or arrows reading "Hey, remember THIS later in the film, everyone!"  Oh, the movie does get there, but it takes WAY too long to do so, and yet somehow, it's only 90 minutes long total. 

The film should simply land on a direction and stick with it, for things to be funny.  Either Paul Blart is completely clueless about reading situations and "figuring out" people, or he's not.  Like the beautiful security guard that he "assumes" is into him.  It's funny only because she's not into him, she's a hottie and he's a schlub, so there's a disconnect between his reality and ours.  But then she DOES fall for him, which is really unlikely, but also a tiny bit funny.  But they can't BOTH be funny in the same film, because they negate each other.  If she really does fall for him, then he wasn't clueless in the first place, and therefore he IS an expert, which has no comedy juice attached to it. 

Also starring Raini Rodriguez (last seen in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"), Neal McDonough (last seen in "RED 2"), Daniella Alonso (last seen in "Black Knight"), Eduardo Verastegui, David Henrie (last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Shirley Knight (last seen in "Our Idiot Brother"), Gary Valentine (last seen in "Stuck on You"), Ana Gasteyer (last seen in "Fun Size"), Nicholas Turturro (last seen in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"), Loni Love, Shelly Desai, Vic Dibitetto, D.B. Woodside, Bas Rutten (last seen in "Here Comes the Boom"), Lauren Ash (last seen in "Lars and the Real Girl") with cameos from Jackie Sandler (also carrying over from "Pixels"), Bob Clendenin, Steve Wynn, and the band Mini-Kiss. 

RATING: 3 out of 10 peanut m&m's

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