Plot: What’s it about?
It’s official. Hell is now freezing over. Early January is usually the time when studios dump their lowest of projects upon the unsuspecting public but when “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” hit theaters a few months back, it was a resounding success. What? Yes, really. And still harder to believe, this film was the first movie of 2009 to cross the $100 million dollar mark. Tell me how that makes sense. Now comedies like this aren’t that uncommon. After all “There’s Something About Mary” was a surprise hit back in 1999 and catapulted Cameron Diaz into an international star. But what was it about “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” that audiences found so intriguing? The story was co-written by Kevin James, who’s no stranger to comedy. James’ last big feature was “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” which co-starred Adam Sandler (and Sandler’s production company “Happy Madison” produced this flick) which was another surprise hit. What’s happened has happened though. Let’s find out what’s so enthralling about “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”
Paul (Kevin James) is hypoglycemic and this condition has kept his weight up and has kept him out of the New Jersey State Troopers. For the last decade he’s been a Mall Cop of the East Orange Pavillion Mall and he loves his job (and takes great pride in it). Together with his Segway, he cruises the mall without a care in the world. While breaking in a new “rookie”, Veck (Keir O’Donnell), the mall is evacuated on Black Friday – the busiest shopping day of the year. Paul is busy playing video games and is mistakenly left in the mall. The “terrorists” if you can call them that, are interested in getting the credit card account numbers roughly equaling $30 million dollars. Now Paul has to take out the “terrorists” else the hostages die and the bad guys get away with the loot.
Yes, this is essentially a low grade comedic version of “Die Hard” minus the violence and the action. But you know what? If taken with a grain of salt (or maybe a grain of sugar might be more appropriate), “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” really isn’t half bad. I’ve told a few people I saw it and their first question is “How is it?” to which I respond: “About as good as a movie named ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ should be.” The film has some genuine laugh out loud moments and Kevin James is somewhat of a natural for physical comedy. I’m not sure how high on the totem pole Mall Cop’s really are, but this film personifies them as lower than life scum that have absolutely no authority whatsoever. Hmmm?so there is a form of life beneath that of a film critic – interesting. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is all about the fun and I urge you to check your brain at the door and then you might end up enjoying it, like I did.
Video: How does it look?
The transfer for “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” looks just about as we’d expect it to. The monotonous colors of the mall are representative of pretty much any mall in America that you’d see. And, for what it’s worth, it actually looks like they filmed in an actual mall with stores like “Aldo” and “Victoria’s Secret” clearly visible. The 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer looks solid with bright colors. Detail is razor sharp and you can see every bead of sweat on Paul’s face and every hair of his mustache. This is consistent with pretty much any day and date Blu-ray release and sports a stellar transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack isn’t that robust, but it does contain a few instances in which my head was tilting. Dialogue is the main draw here, but there are a few gun shots, explosions (yes, really) and the ever-present Segway hums away like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, by and large comedies aren’t that strong on the audio front and this is no exception though those few scenes do remain memorable. It’s an above average effort and again consistent with what comedies should sound like.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As the first “official” box-office hit of 2009, Sony has wisely beefed up this Blu-ray disc with a healthy amount of supplements. Now the content of most of these are relegated to brief featurettes which don’t amount to a whole lot when it comes to substance. We get to see some of the stunts performed by the acrobatic “terrorists”, some of Kevin Smith and his Segway along with some behind the scenes footage. The mall in the film is actually in Boston (which would explain the presence of the Legal Sea Food restaurant) and we get a look at that as well. More entertaining is the commentary with James and producer Todd Garner. The two are very talkative and James gives plenty of insight into the shoot, the stunts and the film as a whole. It’s a good track. The disc is BD-Live enabled and has the new “Cine-chat” feature as well. Ten deleted scenes round out the supplements.