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Review

‘Mall Cop’ relies on fat jokes instead of creativity

José Cruz Jr.

February 5, 2009

Some would argue that the “fat joke” is dead. It is lowbrow, just as the fart joke is, and it has plagued much of comedy since, well, ever. The days of Chris Farley and the Klumps have since come and gone, when you would laugh and cry with these big lugs. Either the humor got more mean-spirited, or more formulaic and over-used. I prefer the latter, but Happy Madison Productions’ “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” seems to be built on the idea that families still get together and laugh at fat guys.

Paul Blart (Kevin James) lives at home with his mom and daughter, who he had with a Mexican immigrant needing a green card who later ditched him, and just failed the state trooper exam due to his hypoglycemia. While on security guard (or officer —apparently there’s a debate over the semantics) duty, he is too busy playing Rock Band in the arcade to notice the mall being taken over by a bunch of skateboard and biker punks.

Since he is the only man in uniform left inside, he takes it upon himself to rescue his newfound love interest, Amy (Jayma Mays), and save the day.

For the record, I like Kevin James. He can play the big lovable doofus perfectly, and has been doing since “King of Queens” started in 1998. But he isn’t given much else to do but be the big lovable doofus. 

The material is nothing more than a 90-minute fat joke, with the punch line of each scene reminding you of Blart’s girth.

The film’s few actually funny bits come from James’ ability to the say the screwiest lines in a deadpan delivery.  And as for Jayma Mays, the extent of her role is to mainly look cute and bat her eyelashes at Blart, leading him to believe he has a chance.

The movie’s biggest flaw is its utter ridiculousness. Yes, it is a comedy and ‘family-friendly’, but that’s no excuse.

Maybe it’s because I’m not the key demographic, and I just don’t get it. But how can otherwise incompetent mall cop with no gun, nightstick, or taser, take down a bunch of skateboarders that do have guns and significantly outnumber him?

This makes said punks also incompetent, as none of them think to just shoot Blart and end their problems.

The cops and S.W.A.T. team outside are incredibly lazy, as no one is formulating a plan or even really seems worried about the whole hostage situation thing going on inside.  Again, I may be looking too much into it.

“Mall Cop” might be a good time for the kids, because all of the humor is physical and no one gets shot, much like a cartoon.

But the adults might only find the few attempts to reference “Die Hard” to be funny.  However, I will give it this: it has no fart jokes or naughty words, and that’s hard to find. 

2 stars out of 5

José Cruz Jr. is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

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