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Steve Carr
Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez, Shirley Knight, Stephen Rannazzisi, Peter Gerety, Bobby Cannavale
Writing Credits:
Kevin James, Nick Bakay

Don't mess with his mall!

In Columbia Pictures' comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Kevin James stars as the title character, a single, suburban dad, trying to make ends meet as a security officer at a New Jersey mall. It's a job he takes very seriously, though no one else does. When's Santa's helpers at the mall stage a coup, shutting down the megaplex and taking hostages (Paul's daughter and sweetheart among them), Jersey's most formidable mall cop will have to become a real cop to save the day.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$31.832 million on 3144 screens.
Domestic Gross
$145.501 million.

Rated PG

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 5/19/2009

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer/Actor Kevin James and Producer Todd Garner
• 10 Deleted Scenes
• 11 Featurettes
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 11, 2009)

Most of the time, January movie releases offer the equivalent of “shovelware”. They’re leftovers not deemed good enough for a more active time of the year thrown out simply to fill theaters with something until screens heat up later in the year. For years, the most successful January release was the re-release of Star Wars. When the month can’t even boast an original offering as its biggest title, you know it’s a dismal time of the year.

That changed in 2009 with the release of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. A veritable Little Movie That Could, Cop looked like the usual sacrificial lamb that would quickly come and go. However, it came and stayed – to the tune of a final box office gross of $145 million.

Not bad for an unassuming comedy about a shopping center security officer. As you’d expect, Cop focuses on its title character (Kevin James), a wannabe policeman who can’t make the cut due to his hypoglycemia. This means he gets stuck as a guard at West Orange Pavilion Mall, the same place he’s been for 10 years as he tries and tries to become a state trooper.

Blart takes his job very seriously and neglects his social life. While his mother (Shirley Knight) and daughter (Raini Rodriguez) push him to try online dating, Blart prefers to moon over Amy (Jayma Mays), a cute clerk at a hair extension kiosk. He blows this when he accidentally gets drunk at a party and makes a fool of himself.

Matters take a decidedly different turn on “Black Friday”, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving. As the evening comes to a close, baddies take over the mall and hold a few employees hostage while they attempt to steal credit card information. As the only “law enforcement” personnel left in the shopping center, Blart takes it on himself to stop the crooks – and rescue his potential beloved Amy.

Place Die Hard in a mall, replace Bruce Willis with a fat, mushy guy, give it a comedic bent and you end up with Cop. I’ll admit that’s an interesting concept for a comedy – at least it was until the very similar Observe and Report came out two months later – but I don’t know if it can sustain our attention for 90 minutes.

Cop didn’t boast a huge opening weekend, so it clearly made most of its money through word of mouth and longevity. That means someone out there – lots of someones, actually – must’ve really liked this thing.

Maybe I’m just out of touch with the Average American Moviegoer, but for the life of me, I can’t understand how someone could see Cop and actually recommend it to others. No, that doesn’t mean it’s a disaster. It’s not interesting enough to be a disaster.

A true cinematic catastrophe – something like Rachel Getting Married - at least is provocative enough to engender a reaction. Cop offers a nearly total non-entity of a film. Yeah, I do kind of like the Die Hard-related premise, but otherwise, the movie seems dishwater dull.

Did it prompt any laughs? Nope – heck, I can’t even recall a snicker or a smile that resulted from this thing. Did it provide strong performances? Nope – the actors did acceptably well but no one ever managed to elevate the pedestrian material with work that seemed interesting or unusual. Did the action create excitement? Nope – the flick remained too much of a comedy at heart to invest itself in the Die Hard side of things.

Cop is the kind of movie that seems to exist just to fill the 2 PM Tuesday time slot on cable. Why did it strike a chord with the public? For the life of me, I can’t figure that out. This is the sort of flick that allows you to pass the time in a painless way but that’s about it. Cop offers an anonymous, forgettable experience.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Paul Blart: Mall Cop appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer offered a watchable presentation but nothing special.

Sharpness seemed acceptable but somewhat erratic. Wide shots tended to be less than stellar; some looked fine, but more than a few were a bit ill-defined. Nonetheless, most of the movie displayed fairly good delineation. I noticed no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was minor. No source flaws cropped up here, as the flick provided clean visuals.

In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden tint to things. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The image didn’t excel, but it was fine for the most part.

I felt the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Cop offered an occasionally involving effort. The sequences related to the assault on the mall brought the five channels to life. These presented good localization of elements and blended together nicely. The material spread out the spectrum and made this an active setting at times, though most of the flick stayed with music and general ambience.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech sounded distinct and natural, and I encountered no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they showed reasonable depth when necessary. Music also demonstrated good dynamics, with bright highs and rich bass. Overall, the audio of Cop supported the material well.

When we head to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/producer/actor Kevin James and producer Todd Garner. They present a running, screen-specific chat that looks at story and script subjects, editing and various gags, effects and stunts, musical choices, cast and performances, and shooting at malls.

I admit I didn’t expect much from this commentary, but it actually provides a pretty good little discussion. James and Garner interact well, as they bring a little humor to the affair. They also contribute a lot of interesting notes about the film and give us good insights. Chalk this one up as a pleasant surprise.

A whopping 11 featurettes appear. These run a total of 49 minutes, 36 seconds and include “Kevin James: Not Your Average Mall Cop”, “Action Sports Junkies”, “Stunts”, “The Mall”, “On Set with Mike ‘Rooftop’ Escamilla”, “Fun on Set”, “Mike V. vs. Mall Cop”, “Mall Cop Response”, “Free Running vs. Parkour”, “Thoughts with Kevin James” and “Sugar”. Across these, we hear from James, Garner, director Steve Carr, stunt coordinator Chris O’Hara, and actors Mike Vallely, Rick Thorne, Jason Ellis, Mike Escamilla, Victor T. Lopez, Keir O’Donnell, Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez, and Natascha Hopkins. The featurettes look at cast and performances, stunts and action, shooting at a mall, and general goofiness from the set.

While occasional bouts of promotional puffiness appear here, the featurettes usually stay on target. You’ll definitely be pleased if you want to know more about the stunts and “X-Games” style elements, as those dominate the various clips. A few other useful subjects appear as well, and the compilation of pieces allows us to get a nice view of the production.

10 Deleted Scenes last a total of 11 minutes, 46 seconds. Some brief bits add exposition to the baddies’ plot; we need to know zero about that to get into the movie’s silliness, so these cuts were good ones.

One of the longest new sequences shows Paul as his mom and daughter take photos for his online dating profile. It’s a fun concept but blah in execution, especially since it often feels like an ad. We also see a little more of Blart at work. They’re nothing special, but fans of the film will probably enjoy them.

The DVD opens with a few ads. We get clips for The King of Queens, Blu-ray Disc and Planet 51. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for Rules of Engagement, Click, The House Bunny, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, 50 First Dates, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spectacular!, The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice, The Accidental Husband and The Norman Lear Collection. No trailer for Mall Cop shows up here.

Maybe someday I’ll figure out how Paul Blart: Mall Cop managed to earn $145 million, but right now, I remain utterly befuddled. The movie provides a totally innocuous – and completely forgettable – piece of work that leaves your memory before the credits start to roll. The DVD offers decent to good picture and audio along with a pretty nice roster of supplements. I think the DVD works fine, but the movie itself is mediocre at best.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.625 Stars Number of Votes: 24
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