In early 2009, Kevin James starred in the family-friendly answer to Die Hard known as Paul Blart: Mall Cop! Set in a mall in New Jersey, the film was a major success hoovering about $146m in the U.S itself. Weirdly it has taken six years for the inevitable sequel to arrive. Frankly, I hated the the first installment, it was loud & overbearing, in other words just too Kevin James aka filled with just fat jokes! Another film that released the same here with a very similar concept Observe & Report (starring Seth Rogen) was a way better film in my opinion. However, after the genre trappings of the first film, it’s only logical that the sequel turns out to be a family-friendly Die Hard 2. That is to say, it’s basically the first one, all over again, in a different location and somehow better. The story follows six years after the event of the 1st film, as the over-zealous mall security guard Blart (Kevin James) is afraid that he has peaked personally – his wife (Jayma Mays) left him six days into the marriage & his mother (Shirley Knight) gets hit by a milk truck . An invite to a prestigious security convention in Las Vegas, all expenses paid, cheers him up a little, and he takes his long-suffering daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) along for the ride.
However, dastardly high roller Vincent (Neal McDonough) is planning to put Vegas’ world-famous security to the test by robbing the hotel where the convention is being held. Though racked by his own ego, Blart stumbles upon their plot and teams up with fellow convention delegates to save the day. Having started on awkward form, the film sets itself into old school physical humor, which Kevin James is actually good at – Repeated auto-accidents, running into clear glass windows and getting beat up by a peacock are just par for the course. Aside from all the “fat man fall down” jokes that persist throughout James’ filmography, the sequel also reprises the previous film’s running joke, about Blart’s hypoglycemia. Yes, Paul Blart is an idiot. He’s also gluttonous, clumsy, overbearing, self-deluded, and obnoxious. He’s a veritable personification of the seven dullest sins, which the movie celebrates, inviting us to laugh at Blart as he stuffs his face, trips over things, and generally behaves like a buffoon. Blart is the protagonist as punching bag. No, wait, he’s the protagonist as misunderstood everyman: Lonely. Hard-working. Just trying to do his best in an unfriendly world. All he does is to earn the love in order to avoid being lonely. Like from his daughter, Maya, who is willing to sacrifice everything for him and forgo acceptance at UCLA because she cannot bear to leave her childlike father alone. Like from the hotel manager (Daniella Alonso) and head of security (Eduardo Verástegui), whose rightful disdain for Blart as he blunders onto their turf and acts like an entitled moron will inevitably morph into literal adoration.
If director Andy Fickman initially cannot decide if he wants us to laugh at Blart or cheer him on, he eventually comes down on the side of Blart Is Awesome! While the film may receive some harsh comments about the humor, I beg to say what do you expect from a film produced by Adam Sandler? It is going to find ways to make you laugh with its ridiculous gags, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea! In the original 2009 film, Kevin James stepped out of Adam Sandler’s shadow for the role of a lifetime, something which he is clearly good at! Neal McDonough as the film’s villain has some funny moments as well! Especially his conversations with Blart on who is more crazier! James, who again co-writes the sequel with Nick Bakay, clearly has aimed at an audience even lower than producer Adam Sandler does in his own movies – the kids! On the whole, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 may not be the best comedy out there, nor is it the worst! For people who enjoy physical comedies & don’t mind films from Happy Madision (Adam Sandler films), will surely be entertained by this sequel, while the rest can avoid!