Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 - 94 min – PG
I don’t like watching the sequels of films when I haven't seen the original--primarily because they rarely stand well on their own. Call it one of the hazards of the way I do my blog. However this installment of the Blart franchise does a good job of bringing the viewer up to speed on the events of the first one. The down side is that at best this movie rates a cute. It falls short of the green range because of its unoriginality.
Six years after the events of first film Paul Blart (Kevin James) gets divorced from his wife (Jayma Mays) after only six days of marriage before his mother gets run over by a milk truck. There is only so much woe a writer should pile onto a character. He is already a sad character because he is at the pinnacle of his life: a mall cop. Can a main character get a break? There is nothing in his life except his daughter, Maya (Raini Rodriguez). Maya, gets news that UCLA has accepted her at the same time he gets great news that he is going to the Security Officer Trade Association event in Las Vegas. Maya has second thoughts about telling her father she is going away to college because he will be alone. Maya inadvertently witnesses an art heist in the hotel and becomes a hostage. In pure Blarty fashion, Paul takes matters into his own hands and thwarts the bad guys.... again.
This movie boils down to be a family-friendly action film. Aside from being in Vegas and having people holding alcoholic drinks I would say that there is nothing of a questionable nature in the film. The action is completely vanilla in nature and mostly screwball fun. This doesn’t make it a bad film; it just makes it a bland film. Even with all of the gun-play it’s mostly non-lethal and the bad guys just get incapacitated.
The production value, performances, hell even the writing are all ok but below par considering the resumes of the talent. Keven James does a great job bringing this odd duck to life probably because he wrote the script so he has a great understanding of who Paul is. But looking at the body of his work you can see that this is not really his best work.
You can see the director’s (Andy Fickman) style in this film. His films are set in a less sterilized Disney movie of the week range. He is never going to be over the top raw or raunchy but has enough of the real life setting to kick it out of the idealized reality that most Disney films are set in.
The only thing I would recommend to the film makers is stop dumping on Mr. Blart. Too much abuse from life makes the viewer feel bad for him. Pity is not an emotion that you should be aiming for. They did do a good job of resolving the issues between him and his daughter. Having Paul mature enough to see that he is holding his daughter back by being needy is a great story to end with but man, it was depressing getting there. It made me want to go watch a comedy to cheer me up, wait I just got out of a comedy. That’s not good.
I have seen worse films but I have also seen a lot better ones. What other sequels standalone without relying on the original story?