What you see in the theatrical trailer is what you get in this blubbery fat-joke silliness, slathered with peanut butter.
The titular Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a single dad who lives with his anxious mother (Shirley Knight) and teenage daughter (Raini Rodriguez); his undocumented-immigrant wife abandoned the family when she obtained her citizenship.
Blart has always dreamed of being a New Jersey State Trooper but a medical condition known as hypoglycemia, which causes him to pass out unexpectedly, foils his police academy plans. After flunking the exam eight times, he takes a security guard job at a local mall where Amy (Jayma Mays), the woman he worships, sells hair-extensions at one of the kiosks.
So when – on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year – a loathsome gang of tattooed thieves on skateboards and bikes – led by the villainous Veck Sims (Keir O’Donnell) – invades the mall and takes hostages, including Amy, Blart – riding on his trusty Segway – is determined to thwart them singlehandedly.
Best known on television as the amiable “The King of Queens,” Kevin James also wrote the screenplay with his longtime partner Nick Bakay. The whole concept is, obviously, “Die Hard” rip-off, in that a rejected law enforcement officer-turned-security guard saves the day. But some of the writers’ comedic efforts are undermined by continuity bloopers blissfully ignored by director Steve Carr (“Daddy Day Care,” “Dr. Doolittle 2”) and editor Jeff Freeman who, in one particularly jarring chase sequence, have Blart frantically racing around the mall and, suddenly, inexplicably, winding up on the roof.
“You’re impossible to underestimate,” Blart’s told, and so is this vapid comedy. While Kevin James was hilarious as Adam Sandler’s friend/domestic partner in “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,” his talents are wasted here. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is a witless, pathetic 3. It’s a trivial pursuit.