If you want a view into Western decadence, take a gander at Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Someone at Sony decided to drop $30 million on a sequel to a six year old comedy generally loathed by the bulk of humanity for no other reason than to keep Adam Sandler (whose Happy Madison Productions produced) and his zoo of chuckleheaded cronies happy. I’m less infuriated at the idea of this sort of monumental waste of time and money than I am egregiously resigned to the fact that this sort of movie is an unstoppable force that’s destined to bulldoze its way into theaters one way or another — and probably make someone a nice stack of cash in the bargain.
If you happened to miss Paul Blart: Mall Cop when it was released in 2009, bless you and keep it that way. That film — based solely around the premise that Kevin James (as our titular Blart) is overweight and has a mustache — is a canker sore of a movie — incredibly, painfully unfunny and tedious to boot. I remember zilch about that movie besides Kevin James riding around on a Segway and a faint image of James rolling around on the floor. That’s it, yet six years later I’m left with such a visceral reaction to the words “Paul Blart.” I suppose I have at least another six years of this, since the cleverly titled Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 manages to take all the nails-on-a-chalkboard humor of the original and make it even worse.
This time around, the humor is based on the idea that Kevin James is still overweight and still has a bad mustache, but imagine him in Bermuda shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and a fanny pack. Beyond this, the plot has him dropped in Las Vegas for a security officer’s convention, which just so happens to coincide with an art heist that’s going down in his hotel. Paul then bumbles his way to heroics, but this is only an afterthought. There are a whole lot of Blart family dynamics happening here with Paul and his daughter (Raini Rodriguez), a really tiresome plot device that eats up the first half of the movie. Once things start to finally happen, it’s no better, since we’re deluged with slapstick (oh, and more Segway jokes) and more of Kevin James mugging for the camera.
Making matters worse is how accidentally ugly the film is. There’s this sort of “aw shucks” attitude at play here, as Blart is portrayed as an everyman and an underdog just struggling to get by. But much of the humor is built upon laughing at how chubby, unfashionable and lonely Blart is, along with his fellow mall cops, who are all festooned with frumpy, ill-fitting clothes and bad wigs. There’s a sneering attitude that the film takes as it looks down on its supposedly relatable characters that takes a bad movie and makes it an ugly one. Rated PG for some violence.