The movie opens with a line up of the latest recruits for the New Jersey State Troopers. They have one more test: the obstacle course.
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is shorter--and considerably heavier--than the rest of the gang. But he climbs, crawls, jumps, and runs the course until he collapses--six inches from the finish line.
Paul has hypoglycemia, which causes him to fall asleep if he doesn't get enough sugar.
He discusses this with his family over the dinner his Mom (Shirley Knight) has prepared for Paul and his daughter, Maya (Raini Rodriguez). It's clear that food is the way Mom shows her unconditional love to her family.
Maya reminds Paul that he made a promise: if he was still single by November, he would sign up for an online dating service. Paul's first wife--Maya's mom--used Paul to get a green card, then split, leaving Maya behind. Mom and Maya help Paul fill out the application.
The next day, Paul takes his Segway to his job as a mall cop in New Jersey. He takes his job very seriously, which his co-workers don't understand. Paul is assigned to orient the new guy, Veck Sims (Keir O'Donnell) and teach him the ropes. Paul uses this opportunity to impart some of his philosophy about protecting the mall to Veck.
A new saleswoman for one of the kiosks catches Paul's eye. Amy (Jayma Mayes) smiles back at him and Paul is smitten. She invites him to join the gang for an after-work get-together where Paul inadvertently gets drunk and makes a fool of himself.
The next day, he apologizes, but Amy isn't sure what to make of him. She heads off to the bank and is taken hostage there as part of the mall takeover. Everyone else evacuates--except Paul, who was playing video games in the arcade and misses the excitement.
So he ends up being the only one on "the inside" for the police department and SWAT team. He has a chance to leave, but doesn't take it when he realizes Amy is one of the hostages.
But he's overweight, hypoglycemic, doesn't have a gun, and has no training. What can he do?
This movie is a "Happy Madison" film, which is Adam Sandler's production company. But there's no cameos by Mr. Sandler or any of his regulars. In fact, most of the actors are B-listers, whose faces you recognize but can't-quite-place. There's lots of physical comedy as well as playing off cultural and physical stereotypes, but I didn't find any of it malicious. No profanity. No nudity. Maya, who is a "tween-ager" is mostly sweet. She loves her dad, although she is a bit exasperated by him.
Paul has taken a lot of abuse: for his weight, for his inability to pass the State Trooper test, for his hypoglycemia, for his seriousness about his job. But he knows what's right and what's important. And he's not stupid.
DD#2 (15) saw this with some of her friends and thought it was hilarious. In fact, Hubs and I saw Mall Cop based on her recommendation. We enjoyed it, although I didn't find it as funny as she did. It's rated PG, which feels about right. Overall positive messages about family, ignoring stereotypes, and believing in yourself.
On the March Hare scale: 3.5 out of 5 Golden Tickets
crossposted at The Mad Tea Party