You can’t stop Kevin James from making movies. Because the masses were clamoring for a sequel six years after the fact, everybody’s favorite mall cop is back, and he’s headed to Vegas. Of course given that this is a Paul Blart movie, he’s immediately going to find himself in some sort of caper he’s going to unintentionally thwart. I’m going to start by paying this film a mighty big compliment: this isn’t nearly as bad as I thought this was going to be. I watched a trailer, and I shivered with how terrible this looked. I mean it’s not like the first movie was anything to write home about, why on Earth did they decide to move forward on Paul Blart 2? While I may not be able to answer that question per se, I do want to go ahead and issue a bit of a disclaimer: this review is likely going to come off as sounding more positive than negative, but that is only because I sat down with the expectation that I would be gouging my eyes out before the end credits. Make no mistake, this is a bad movie, and unless you have a thing for Segway jokes, you can skip this, carry on with your life and go to the grave with a Paul Blart free existence.
So let’s get to why this isn’t the worst film in the world, and there will be minor spoilers here (I figure that if there’s a movie I can get away with spoilers on, it’s Paul Blart). For one thing, I watched this stony faced and arms crossed, and this actually started with a big laugh that cold-clocked me. If you remember from the first movie, it ends with Blart getting the hot chick and saving the day. This opens with him getting divorced 6 days after his marriage. It’s just something that I wasn’t expecting, and it actually started this off on the right foot for me. It took me a while, but I did eventually have to admit to myself that this movie was making me laugh to myself, in a shaking-my-head kind of way. The amount of padding that is here is actually kind of hilarious from a filmmaking standpoint. For example, there is a scene where Blart just looks at the camera, says he needs some fresh air, and then walks outside to fight an African crane for five minutes in front of a piano player. Why? No reason other than to watch him flop around for a while, and the movie continues on as usual immediately thereafter.
I started off hating myself for laughing at this one joke, and I don’t want to go so far to say that I was won over by this, but I was definitely less irked by this than I imagined I was going to be. It’s filled with sight gags and buffoonery, but I really didn’t end up groaning all that much. Also, Neal McDonough is featured as the bad guy (type casting), and to be honest, he does elevate this to being above the bottom of the barrel. The standout scene in this is him and Blart getting in a verbal spat, trying to one-up each other on how insane they are. Anyway, this is still a bad movie that you shouldn’t really take the time with, but surprisingly, there are worse movies out there.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) **
– Critic for Hire