Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

★★★
I laughed very hard. Yes, for real.
Movie Review #968

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“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is the latest release from Happy Madison Productions, Adam Sandler’s production company since 1999. That pretty much says everything. “Paul Blart 2” isn’t the smartest of movies–who am I kidding, it’s high-ranking among the dumbest movies I have ever seen, save for perhaps a select few that were mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000. But there’s a difference: those were B-movies. “Paul Blart 2” doesn’t give a flying fatguy about how dumb it is, because it’s joyfully basking in the glory of its idiocy.

There’s dumb funny and there’s dumb unfunny. Admittedly, Happy Madison has had some of the latter. There ain’t no hiding my absolute hatred of “Jack and Jill”. It made me want to blind myself with ice picks. You’d think my reaction would at least be similar for “Paul Blart 2” (and by the way, I have not seen the first movie, though I am now interested). For at least a week, this sequel held a rare 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes, something that hadn’t to a wide release happened since Eddie Murphy had to shut up for an entire movie in 2012’s “A Thousand Words”.

I am pleased to say that “Paul Blart 2” is dumb funny at a level I have not seen Happy Madison reach in some time. The key to enjoying it is not to go in preparing for the worst, and do a quick check at the door to make sure your didn’t abandon your inner child. You can condescend a movie until you get bored of yourself. You can complain until somebody grabs the general manager to knock your ass out of the theater. But truth be told, if you go into a movie like “Paul Blart 2” feeling all holier-than-Blart, then you wind up looking like a complete idiot. You’ve overlooked a simple fact that the movie can’t hear your whining and frankly does not care, and thus have earned a seat at the idiots’ banquet right next to Blart.

Moving on now.

You can’t indulge movies, either, and that’s all the more reason that the laughs in “Paul Blart 2” are winningly self-indulgent. In case you haven’t guessed already, the jokes are all on the title character here, played reverently (okay, not quite) by Kevin James. He insists on being referred to as Officer Blart, not Paul Blart, not Mr. Blart, etc. He knows the ins and outs of a Segway like it’s his Aston Martin. He’s clumsy. He’s overweight. He’s a little overprotective of his daughter. He keeps a vibrating fork in his pocket in case of emergency. Hell, just the fact that he’s a mall cop seems to work as a joke, in and of itself.

Still, this guy’s a really likable character, and that’s what makes “Blart 2” work as a comedy. I’d use the figure of speech that he’s “the kind of guy I’d have a beer with,” but I am not of the drinking age, and Blart insists on drinking only root beer, even in Vegas, so let’s modify that figure of speech. Blart’s the kind of guy I’d invite to dinner. I’d even let him eat my food. Sure, he’s caught up in a bunch of jokes about his weight and his clumsiness, but he seems like a great guy. And even when that gets in his way, Blart’s still well-meaning and heroic in his job as a mall cop. “Paul Blart 2” is a comedy that appeals to children as well as the inner child of anyone older. Fortunately, its lead character and its messages are rather positive for our youngest generation.

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is a good movie. These words coming from me, not Armond White. It’s silly, it’s dumb, and it’s formulaic, but it doesn’t aim to do much more than make us laugh. It aims to please. Not to change the world.

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