Paul Blart heads off to Las Vegas with his daughter in tow for a mall cop convention but, once again, they find themselves at the wrong place, at the wrong time, as she stumbles upon a gang of art thieves in the middle of a heist.
What we thought:
Kevin James’ losing streak of starring in terrible movie after terrible movie continues, as he once again dons the mantle of Paul Blart to deliver what is easily the worst mainstream film (it’s going to be tough to beat the arthouse awfulness of Saint Laurent) to come out so far this year.
It’s not quite the worst film that James has ever shown up in, as its not as offensive as those ghastly Adam Sandler movies in which he always takes on a thankless supporting role. This is, however, the point where there really is no more giving Kevin James the benefit of the doubt just because he was perfectly amiable in the equally amiable sitcom, The King of Queens. James has now reached the point where, like Sandler himself, his name alone is enough of a red flag to send all but the most hapless of masochists running in the opposite direction.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is nominally supposed to be just a bit of a light-hearted romp for younger audiences and, as such, nothing really to become too cross about. And yet, there’s no shaking the sense that this condescending attitude towards its young audience is every bit as offensive as the worst idiot-baiting sex comedies out there (and would you know it, there’s one of those out this week as well). Yes, I realise that kids today are raised on stuff like the seriously psychedelically creepy Teletubbies but, damnit man, kids are much, much smarter than anything in the cash-grabbing cynicism of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 could ever hope to suggest.
It’s not just that the film is brain-dead and utterly unfunny to anyone over the age of ten, it’s that it’s hard to believe that even the most undiscerning of young kids (and they can’t be too young, it is rated PG after all) will think that this garbage stands up at all to genuinely funny, light-hearted romps like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or to all but the absolute worst of the thousands of animated kids-movies to come out each year.
I freely admit to laughing at least a few times while watching something like Diary of a Wimpy Kid so it’s hardly the case that years of watching brilliantly intelligent and grown-up comedy like Seinfeld or Arrested Development has completely robbed me of the ability to laugh at decent juvenile humour – but, not only did I not laugh once, not even by mistake, during the entirety of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 but there were a number of theoretically “humourous situations” where my jaw genuinely and involuntarily dropped at the sheer, pulverizing force of just how absolutely unfunny they were.
I’ve always believed comedy to be subjective, but these scenes seriously test that particular theory. So utterly anti-funny are these “comedic set pieces” that anyone who actually laughs at them should get to checking themselves into their local insane asylum post-freakin’-haste. And I’m only sort of kidding. I really, truly do not want to meet anyone whose brain is wired in such a way that they actually laugh at these… these…these…ugh. And, no, I can’t actually remember any of these scenes in any sort of detail, of course. Every time my memory comes within fifty miles of any one of these, haha, “jokes”, a defensive amnesia immediately kicks in to protect my brain from imploding in on itself. It’s not funny is what I’m saying.
But wait, there’s more. Not only is Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 utterly bereft of laughs and, as you may have guessed, badly written, badly directed, badly acted and dumber than a colony of Kardashians, it also has the temerity to try and pull at our heartstrings as we see our obnoxious, self-centred, childish, stupid (oh so stupid) “hero” try and come to grips with his only daughter getting the hell out of dodge and trying to move to a college that is only a couple of miles away, rather than, ya know, in another galaxy or something. “Why does my daughter want to live away from me? I can think of a reason or two, Mr Blart… And, yes, of course, these vomitous sentimental scenes are all set to the most gag-reflex-pressing instrumental scores imaginable. Of course they are!
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, of course there’s a kinda unbelievably “hawt” woman who does indeed spend the entire film trying to fight off her attraction to this unfathomably ghastly man-child. But then, you knew this already, didn’t you? It really is that kind of film.