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Paul Blart Mall Cop (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 87 minutes

OK for children

If ever a movie started out with 2-1/2 strikes against it for me, it was this. First, it stars and was written by Kevin James, who was Adam Sandler’s co star in the execrable “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” (2007,, one of the worst movies ever made. Second is that it is produced by Sandler’s company. Now the movie starts and a Sandy Koufax fastball is on its way to the plate for the third strike.

The first half hour fulfilled all my low expectations. Paul (James) is pictured as a pathetic loser who washed out of police school and ended up as a Mall Cop. The movie was shaping up the same way. Then a group of robbers take over the Mall and the movie quickly changes from a piteous low intellect attempt at humor to a light-hearted takeoff on Bruce Willis and the “Die Hard” movies.

Written by James and Nick Bakay, the film made it for me because director Steve Carr keeps the pace up during the last hour. Paul is against the six robbers and they have hostages. Maybe the climaxes of the fights are a little difficult to believe, but they are well enough done that I was willing to go forward and accept that Paul might conceivably be as successful as Willis always is against enormous odds.

How much did I enjoy this film? Well, let’s put it this way. There are at least three things that will put me almost instantly to sleep. The first is a drink. The second is eating French Fries. The third is ingesting sugar, especially M&Ms. I had a drink at dinner. My dinner included French Fries. I ate almost a whole bag of M&Ms during the floundering first half hour. I never once felt sleepy after the robbers took over the Mall.

January 14, 2009