Paul Blart takes his job as a security guard at the local mall very seriously. He has dreams of becoming a police officer but having to constantly eat sugary food to treat his hypoglycaemia is making life difficult. When armed men take over the mall and keep Paul’s friends as hostages, he must summon up the courage to fight back and rescue the woman of his dreams.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) – Director: Steve Carr

Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop appropriate for kids?

Rating: PG

Running Length: 91 mins

Starring: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O’Donnell

Genre: Comedy

REVIEW

Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ was a surprise hit with movie-goers after it had received generally poor reviews from the critics. While it isn’t hilariously funny, it is rather charming, enjoyable and light-hearted which is exactly what is needed from this type of film. While other comedies of this ilk rely on innuendo and barely concealed adult humour to force the laughs, the humour in ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ is quite sweet and family friendly.

Kevin James is the overweight, hypoglycaemic hero who wants to do more with his life but lacks any motivation to change. Choosing to remain in the mall while criminals threaten people he cares about forces him to realise that despite his enthusiasm, the situation is more difficult and dangerous than he could have imagined. James successfully portrays a man who doesn’t have a lot going for him; he is a single parent who lives with his mother and has never been lucky in love. In spite of all this, he remains friendly and upbeat, only letting this facade slip occasionally. We are therefore treated to a fully developed character (albeit still somewhat of a caricature) that could have just been the comedy ‘fat man’ but, thankfully, Paul Blart is actually quite believable.

IS ‘PAUL BLART: MALL COP’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

On the whole, ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ is quite inoffensive and is appropriately rated as a family friendly movie. However, there are a few scenes that adults may wish to be aware of before allowing young children to watch this movie.

In a short ‘comedy’ scene, Paul is riding to work on a Segway and while leaving his house, a small dog chases after him. He tries to get it to go away but it doesn’t pay him any attention. Eventually, the dog is run over, off camera, and it yelps several times in pain. Paul looks like he feels guilty about this but does not actually do anything to help the dog, just leaving it in the middle of the street. It is unclear how badly injured the dog is and the plot never returns to it. This type of animal suffering for comedy purposes could upset any child who cares about animals.

While at work, Paul has to diffuse an argument between two women who want to purchase the same lingerie when there is only one left in stock. One is a pretty, slim lady and the other is plain and overweight. After Paul accidentally insults her, the overweight lady attacks him. For no reason whatsoever, her top is lifted up, revealing her back and bra strap and there is a glimpse of her bra from the front as she pulls her top down. This appears to have been done as a visual ‘fat’ gag and does not have any sexual connotation to it.

At one point, Paul is given a mobile phone by his friend who has previously confiscated it from his teenage daughter as a punishment. Later in the movie, Paul receives a phone call from the boyfriend of his friends’ daughter who thinks that she is cheating on him with Paul saying ‘You are probably sweating over her right now’. This is as strong as this characters dialogue gets and he later strikes up an unlikely friendship with Paul making him quite a fun addition to the cast.

The criminals are quite threatening and although they are not seen to do anything other than be intimidating, there are several references in the dialogue to them being prepared to kill (or “waste”) the hostages. They move around the mall on skateboards, bikes or by running and jumping between floors and displays (free-running). They come across as very aggressive and capable of harming innocent people if they felt that it was necessary.

While Paul is being pursued by two of the criminals, he tries to hide in an air conditioning unit. They soon find him and, in trying to get him out, they use a metal pole with a sharp end to stab into the unit, this almost hits Paul several times. The aggression of this against the hapless hero could be a little distressing for younger children. However, Paul gets out of this situation unscathed.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ is unlikely to go down in the annals of history as the epitome of family comedy movies, however if you want a fun film to watch with your kids, you can’t go too far wrong. However, the tone of the movie changes so unexpectedly to a much darker storyline once the armed criminals are introduced that we would generally recommend this film for children aged 8 and over. Parents may wish to accompany under 10s on the first viewing to ensure that they are happy with the content that their child is seeing.

  • Violence:  2/5 (although there are a lot of threats from the ‘bad’ characters, the violence is minimal and is appropriate for a PG film)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (Paul is very lonely and one short scene shows him to be unable to keep up the happy facade that he puts on in front of others. He then gets increasingly upset about his situation)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (the armed criminals are very intimidating and are prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way. Their introduction is quite surprising as before this, the movie does not appear to be heading in this direction)
  • Sexual Content: 2/5 (in addition to the previously mentioned content, at one point Paul starts playing an arcade game. The main character of this is an attractive woman wearing a tight fitted top and very short skirt. This is no different from how women are often portrayed in computer games and is not particularly shocking. Another line of dialogue shows Paul checking on the hostages through binoculars, he sees the girl he likes and says ‘here come the love sweats’. This doesn’t go any further but as Paul hasn’t spoken like this before it does stand out as a strange thing for him to say. Also, early in the film, one of the characters gives Paul some hot sauce called ‘The Devil’s Crotch’, this gag is only used briefly on one occasion)
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (there are a few mild curse words and some mild blasphemy. The ringtone on Paul’s mobile phone is ‘My Bubble Gum’ by Rasheeda, however only one line from the chorus is used which is ‘I’m the kind of girl you wanna chew on all my bubblegum’. While this is clearly a sexual metaphor, we feel that most young children are unlikely to understand the innuendo which is being used here)
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (the dialogue of the criminals is quite strong; they talk about ‘wasting hostages’, threaten to kill specific characters and one tells Paul that he will put a bullet in his head)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of love, loneliness, single-parent families, bravery, being the best you can be.

Words by Laura Record

Paul Blart – Mall Cop [Blu-ray] [Region Free]


New From: £7.48 GBP In Stock

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