Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, by Albert W. Vogt III

We pick up Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) six years after the events of Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009). Nothing has changed, and hence no need, really, for an introduction. Go read the review of the first one to orient yourself to what is going on. Paul Blart (Kevin James) is still working as a security guard at the West Orange Pavilion Mall. The first few minutes do reveal a couple of minor differences. His marriage to Amy Anderson (Jayma Mays) from the first film only lasted a week, though I suspect in real life Mays wanted nothing to do with the sequel. Subsequently she was neatly written out of the script. I am sure there was a sigh of relief for her. The other is that his mother (Shirley Knight) died, the result of a truly horrid moment where she is ran over by a speeding milk truck. Is that funny? Not to me, and again I flushed another hour and a half of my life down the toilet.

So in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Paul’s life is carrying on as it had before, with no changes in his character as a result from his experiences in the first film. Out of the blue, he receives an invitation to a security officer’s convention in Las Vegas. On the same day he gets this news, his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) obtains acceptance to UCLA. She fears telling her father because he is overbearing and over-protective, and thinks that she should stay close to home for college. Together they leave for Las Vegas where other attendees seem to have heard of Paul’s heroics in saving the hostages at the mall six years ago. While Paul settles into a minor bit of fame, Maya develops a relationship with one of the hosting resort’s valet workers, Lane (David Henrie), which she also tries to hide from her dad. This involves sneaking around while Paul is involved in conference functions. After returning to his room following one of these events, he finds that she is gone despite telling him that she planned to stay in. This causes him to believe that she has been kidnapped, and he immediately calls the authorities. As it turns out, Maya is attending a party with Lane elsewhere in the hotel. Just as she is about to get back to her room, she stumbles upon a plot by Vincent Sofel (Neal McDonough) to steal the rare pieces of art that adorn various areas of the resort. Unfortunately, she cannot get away without being detected, and her and Lane are kidnapped. Thus, just like in the first movie, Paul must not only rescue hostages but foil a massive heist scheme. He does this with a little help from other conference attendees, and using some of the modern security wares on display in the hall, including, you guessed it, a tricked out segway . . . which gets used for all of about five seconds. Paul also gets some assistance from resort manager Divina Martinez (Daniella Alonso), whose genuine desire to be helpful is consistently misinterpreted by Paul as sexual advances. Is that not hilarious? Again, not to me.

The best thing you can say about Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is that, like its predecessor, it is blessedly short. Because this is generously called a comedy, it relies on the same supposed physical prowess of Kevin James for the bulk of its laughs. I will credit the same dedication from the first movie to his daughter on Paul’s part, even if it does border on mania. In this, there is one little, tiny, minuscule, microscopic, small, insignificant, puny, teeny, slight silver lining to this film. It involves the relationship between Paul and Maya. One of the oft repeated phrases in Ecclesiastes is how there is a season for everything, and a time for every activity under the sun. Yes, John Lennon repeated this in his music, but it has Biblical roots. It simply means that a person’s life will go through different stages, and there is a wisdom to moving through each with an acceptance. This is something that Paul must learn with his daughter, eventually letting her go to UCLA. What mars it is the fact that it has little to do with anything else going on in the film.

Other than perhaps fleshing out a little more the relationship between father and daughter, there is no reason to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, particularly if you have seen the first one. It has the same fat jokes, the same poking fun at Paul’s hypoglycemia, and subsequently the same hour and a half of yawning. Actually, I envied one of the conference attendees, fellow security guard Khan Mubi (Shelly Desai) as most of the scenes he is in he is asleep.

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