I was pretty excited when I first heard about this sequel to director Steve Carr’s 2009 runaway hit, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” because I absolutely loved that movie. And while this second installment doesn’t have that same magic of the first movie, it’s still fun to see Kevin James doing what he does best — riding that Segway like a boss, connecting with his daughter Maya (Riani Rodriguez), and of course, outsmarting the bad guys.
This time, the action takes place in Las Vegas, where Paul and Maya are visiting while he attends a security convention. Word on the street is that he’ll finally be recognized by his peers for his outstanding achievements of keeping that mall safe in New Jersey six years ago.
Plus, he could really use the break. His wife left him (I would loved to have seen Jayma Mays come back, but heard that she couldn’t do it because of scheduling conflicts with “Glee”) and his mom was run over by a milk truck! Yes, there’s even a quick scene of this, which seemed oddly out of place in this comedy. You see it, and you’re like, wait, did that just happen?
But alas, the rumor is unfounded, and turns out Paul’s security guard buddies aren’t there to see him after all. Someone else is giving the keynote speech. (I mean, Paul would have known if he was giving the speech, right? I’m sure they would have given him plenty of advance notice).
Meanwhile, a thieving art collector (Neal McDonough, who plays a really good bad guy) is planning a heist that will make things interesting for Paul and his colleagues.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” doesn’t break any new ground. It relies heavily on James’ physical comedy, at which he excels in amazing ways, as well as the tried-and-true plot of villains who need to be dealt with. Even though this movie isn’t as good as the first one, I still love watching Kevin James — he’s comedy gold.
And as a mom who has not one, but two kids heading off to college in the fall, I so relate to the heartwarming subplot of Paul figuring out how to handle Maya going away to college in California. We’ll get through it, Paul. Really, we will.
If there’s a third movie, I envision Paul taking down some bad guys planning something nefarious at Maya’s college. And based on the box office, there’s a chance a third movie could happen (although I hope they come up with some new plot twist — and bring back Jayma Mays!).
While “Furious 7” came in first at the box office with $29.1 million on its third week out, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” grabbed $23.7 million, which isn’t bad. I mean, it’s hard for a chubby guy on a Segway to compete with Vin Diesel’s ripped muscles and fast cars.
But then, I think that’s part of Paul Blart’s appeal. He’s someone you might actually know and hang out with. We don’t get to see someone like that too often on the big screen, and people relate to it.
Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG for some violence
Released in Theaters: April 17, 2015
Best for Ages: 9+
Genre: Family, Comedy
Runtime: 94 minutes
Directed by: Andy Fickman
Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
Cast: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Neal McDonough, Eduardo Verastequi
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a well-known film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this review used courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing.