Women On Film – “Paul Blart Mall Cop”- Susan Granger reviews

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.