PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 – Review by Susan Granger

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Since Kevin James’ “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (2009) earned $146 million in the US alone, a slapstick sequel seemed inevitable. No longer prowling the New Jersey shopping center, roly-poly, buffoonish Paul Blart (James) is now on patrol at the Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort. But he’s suffered some hard times. Read on…

Less than a week after getting married, his wife (Jayma Mays) filed for divorce. Then his mother (Shirley Knight) was run over by a milk truck. So when he receives an invitation to a security officers’ trade convention in Las Vegas, Paul and his UCLA-bound daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) head for Nevada. Seriously delusional Paul is hoping he’ll be asked to be the keynote speaker because of his Mall heroics.

At the Wynn Hotel, he meets the general manager, Davina Martinez (Daniella Alonso), and head of security, Eduardo (Eduardo Verastegui), while Maya becomes friends with the hotel valet, Lane (David Henrie).

At the same time, a wily thief (Neal McDonough) is ready to run off with the Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort’s priceless art collection, disguising his goons as members of the hotel staff. Needless to say, boorish Paul is on the job, if not his Segway, recruiting his security-guard buddies (Loni Love, Gary Valentine, Shelly Desai) to join his Taser-toting team for slapstick shenanigans.

Working from a pedestrian script by Kevin James and Nick Bakay, director Andy Fickman (“Parental Guidance”) plugs the Wynn property continually, including a glimpse of the lavish aquatic theater presentation “Le Reve” and a cameo of mogul Steve Wynn emerging from his tanning bed.

FYI: The first commercial film shot on Steve Wynn’s property, it’s also the first movie to qualify for Nevada’s new film tax credit, amounting to $4.3 million.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is a tacky 2, as the obvious product placement and Kevin James’ buffoonish charm quickly run cold.

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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 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.