Today’s family comedies are a rare breed. Decent ones anyway. Those that are safe enough to take your kids to yet allow you to laugh at things that are written for the adults in the audience, with little or no guilt. It is a fine balance and sort of a lost art form. Sure, you sacrifice a little depth and have to give in to the predictable prat-falls and sophomoric moments but what you gain does make up for it on some levels.

In the latest family comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Kevin James (Blart) is a 10 year veteran of security at what could be Any Mall USA. This one just happens to be in New Jersey. Blart takes his job seriously. Very seriously in fact. Transferring his dreams of a highway patrol career to the only beat he has; rolling from one store to the next on his stand up scooter contraption. When a gang of thugs take over the mall on Black Friday it is up to Bart to save the day as well as the new mall employee Amy (Jayma Mays) who he has become quite smitten with.

You get a little bit of everything in this Steve Carr directed film. He uses the mall location as a character in itself. Poking fun at normal routine always adds personality to a film. Makes it more relatable. We have all been to the mall and probably joked about the security guy. I personally think this film is a huge step forward from Carr’s earlier endeavors which include “Are We Done Yet?” and “Daddy Day Care”. It is more than safe to say that the elevating element in this one is Kevin James. James is a brilliant comedic actor. In many ways he reminds me of the late great John Belushi. He is a big guy but allows his body movements and choreographed timing to make him as graceful as any ballroom dancer. No motion is wasted. Each turn and pivot is funny and meant to bring a laugh. From the slightest facial expression or the turn of the hips it all adds to the overall objective, which is comedy. Plus he has that lovable personality that Belushi used to his benefit. Add to that the delivery of a John Candy and it is easy to see why James is always a screen success.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop is rated PG for some violence, mild crude and suggestive humor, and language. Think of it as a home alone for big kids. Co-written by James and from the Adam Sandler production company (and yes Allen Covert is in it) it has a little more meat than your average family comedy. Enough to give it some heart without fouling up the dialogue and overdoing the suggestive humor. At the heart of the, well, heart, is a lovable guy that just wants to do the right thing. His might not be the most glamorous position but he knows what is important and that is what drives him. I will happily give it 3.5 out of 5 kiosks. It was 100% predictable and at times slightly campy but I laughed a lot as did most around me. It might have done better releasing during the Holidays but still worth putting on your family outing list.

For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website”

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

Be Sociable, Share!