Six years after foiling an armed attack at his mall, security guard, Paul Blart, is invited to Las Vegas to a convention celebrating his profession and he takes his teenage daughter, Maya, with him. When Maya stumbles across organised criminals who are planning to steal some valuable paintings, they capture her and hold her hostage. Paul must once again pluck up the courage to save his daughter and stop a robbery.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) – Director: Andy Fickman
Running Length: 94 mins
Starring: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Neal McDonough
2009’s ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ was a movie that lended itself to a sequel with all the groundwork of Paul’s personality and motivations being laid down. Unfortunately this time around, Paul is much more arrogant about his role as security guard and the humour is much more likely to make the audience cringe rather than laugh out loud. His character is no longer the likeable and warm man who the first movie gave us; he portrayed as unpleasant and selfish. Whilst in more carefully crafted hands, Paul’s desire to keep his daughter with him countered with her need to fly the nest could have added a parental depth of motivation. However, his unrealistic stifling of her desire to grow into a happy young woman simply further compounds how unlikable a character he has written this time around.
The first movie ended with Paul marrying Amy, the girl of his dreams. This movie begins by saying that Amy divorced him only six days after the wedding. Starting a sequel in this flippant fashion has the negative effect of completely invalidating the emotional journey that the audience followed in the original movie; also wiping out the warmth that the original cultivated so well. However, one big positive in this movie is that Kevin James’ main co-star is the very likeable Raini Rodriguez who plays his lovely daughter Maya and, because there isn’t really a love interest for Paul, their relationship is expanded upon and the film is all the better for it.
Overall, there are some laughs in ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ but they are few and far between and much of the comedy is overused, very predictable or simply not funny. This would be forgivable if Paul, as the protagonist, was likeable but sadly he’s arrogant, obnoxious and self-absorbed, making this movie limp along to its inevitable conclusion.
IS ‘PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A character who Paul loves is run over by a milk truck early in the movie. They stand in the road in order to pick up a paper and suddenly disappear when the truck hits them. There is no blood or gore but it is obvious that they have been killed, especially as the dialogue says this shortly afterwards. Paul is devastated but this isn’t dwelt upon so it should not be too distressing.
There is some comic violence in the movie, for instance, a woman deliberately punches Paul in the throat as a friendly gesture but she obviously doesn’t know her own strength. He gags and struggles for breath, while she laughs and is oblivious to what is happening with Paul. Knowing why she did it, Paul does not hold this against her and they become good friends as the movie progresses.
Paul walks into the road and gets hit by a car, everything is shown on camera but he isn’t badly hurt and gets up immediately, more embarrassed than in pain. Paul is approached by a large bird and, after unsuccessfully trying to shoo it away, it attacks him. It won’t leave him alone and each time he pushes it away, it comes back even more aggressive. At one point, Paul punches it in the face but it quickly recovers and attacks again. Although the bird doesn’t appear to suffer and some might say deserves it, this act of animal cruelty is unnecessary.
Paul overhears a man attempting to seduce a woman at a bar who is clearly not interested. The man is drunk and the woman is very uncomfortable, telling him to leave her alone. When Paul arrives, he automatically takes the man’s side (he has met him before but doesn’t know him very well) telling the woman that he isn’t drunk. She says ‘maybe I overreacted’ but the man then passes out because he is intoxicated. This sexist message that a man can harass a woman and her being made to feel like she is overreacting if she complains is not necessarily one that parents would want their children seeing.
Paul punches an elderly woman in the stomach, believing that he is being approached by one of the criminals that is holding his daughter. She falls to the floor and he apologises profusely. She groans in pain but insists that she is ok and actually apologises to Paul. He tries to help her but she is determined to be ok and he leaves her to continue looking for his daughter.
A man eats a banana in front of Paul which is old and black. He makes a squelching sound as he eats and Paul watches him in horror and disgust. He looks away but can’t help but look back and makes gagging noises, saying how disgusting it is. This lasts for around 20-30 seconds and is not easy to watch but kids may find this small amount of ‘gross-out’ comedy funny.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
A disappointing sequel to the surprisingly warm and funny original, ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ has enough humour to keep the kids laughing but may not be as appealing to the adults accompanying them. We feel that this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 6 and over but Paul, as the movie’s protagonist, is not exactly a role model for kids to look up to so parents may wish to discuss his attitude with their children to explain why he acts the way he does.
- Violence: 2/5 (mostly comic and slap-stick in nature. One character is shot in the chest with an electrified fork. They collapse onto the floor but are seen alive not long later. Another character is knocked over by a cattle prod over and over again. When he tries to get away, he is clearly suffering and the person using the cattle prod apologises for having to do it again. One ‘good’ character is shot in the arm but is not too badly hurt. A man hits a horse’s behind and gets kicked across the road but gets up immediately, a little dazed but otherwise ok)
- Emotional Distress: 1/5
- Fear Factor: 2/5 (the criminals are dangerous and threaten to kill Paul and his daughter, Maya. It is likely that they will follow through with their threats)
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (Maya wears a non-revealing bathing suit to go to a swimming pool but Paul tells her that he wants her to change into something more appropriate. Maya becomes friends with a young man and the relationship between them gradually develops into a gentle and innocent romance)
- Bad Language: 0/5
- Dialogue: 2/5 (one of the criminals wears a suit which is part of the hotel uniform. He tells his boss ‘you don’t wanna know what it took to get the real deal’, implying that he possibly killed or badly hurt a member staff to get their uniform. Several insults are thrown at overweight people)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of single parenthood, being left alone, taking pride in your job, believing that you are more important than you actually are and protecting the people you care about.
Words by Laura Record