“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was one of the first and funniest films of 2009. As a New Jersey mall security guard who had one epic Black Friday, Kevin James proved to be an unlikely likable hero and established a modern classic comedy character. It took James more than six years to get back into the uniform and on the Segway for “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”. Clearly he didn’t spend much of that time coming-up with a script, as this sequel is as bland and basic as you can get – with the clever and unpredictable mall setting of the original being replaced by tired and overdone Las Vegas.
Halfway through “PB:MC2”, while my mind was wandering, I realized that this has become the family film franchise version of the “Taken” series, with James as the comedic Liam Neeson – who, once again, has to get back his kidnapped daughter. If only those behind this film realized the potential of a “Taken” parody, the result would’ve been a lot more interesting.
Blart and his daughter are staying at Vegas’ Wynn hotel for a Security Officers Training Association convention. And it just so happens a group of art thieves are planning to steal all of the hotel’s priceless paintings and sculptures. (Same weekend – what are the odds?) Once Blart finds-out what’s going on (and it does take a while), he springs – sort of – into action, because as he states, “Safety is a mission – not an intermission.”
The charm of the original, which most critics ignored, though it did well at the box office, is nowhere to be found in this sequel – in favor of a dumbed-down, utterly predictable script. There are three or four funny situations, and a few good jokes, including a hilarious one during Blart’s convention speech (a rare highlight of the film). But I can “safely” state, overall, this is a missed opportunity.
But we can’t be too surprised. If James and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison team really cared about creating a hit, they would’ve put more effort into this production and made it a lot sooner (a 2011 release). Instead, this is simply an attempted money grab, and that probably won’t work, either.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” gets a D+.
Running Time: 94 min.