Deciding on a movie that satisfies each member of our family of three is no small feat. My vote never counts so its up to my 6 and 8 year old boys to try to convince each other to see the movie each feels is the ONE. We were to see Hotel For Dogs, my 6 year old insisted. We enjoyed our dinner at the Wild Goose a little too long to make the evening show of Hotel for Dogs. So my choice, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, won out. And thank gawd it did because I wasn’t in the mood for another movie starring clean cut, over paid, Disney child actors—not that there is anything wrong with that.

The credits revealed that Adam Sandler and Kevin James co-produced this movie along with a third non-household-comedic-name. Sandler-like humor is evident in this movie and Kevin James is its perfect delivery vehicle. Audiences can’t help but emote at the close ups of his big brown eyes, and his self admissions to food issues.
The movie sound track plays on those of us that are nostalgic about early 80’s music. REO Speedwagon, Chicago, and the symbolic Barry Manilow shape Paul Blart’s being.  This movie cleverly gains our sympathy for Blart immediately because of his home life: he is a full-time single dad of a Hispanic Tweenager, the product of his union with an illegal immigrant seeking citizenship, and they live with his mother.  He has a huge heart, which he devotes to his work, and which is responsible for a school boy crush he develops for a mall employee. Other mall security officers consider it a job, but to Blart it a career—a forced career because he has 8 times failed the obstacle course portion of the State Police exam.  So he devotes his life to keeping shoppers of a New Jersey mall safe at all times.
His devotion to those at the mall is tested when he is thrown into hero mode and must take down a band of robbers that lock themselves in the mall; and hold mall employees hostage. Blart comes up with creative ways to take down each member of the band one by one. This sequence of how the simple mall cop can outsmart the evil and agile villains is almost nail biting but remains comical. While the conflict inside the mall embroils, an additional conflict of official cop alongside the head of mall security vs big bad SWAT team ensues. This provides for an entertaining look at law enforcement and the attitudes of each level of “officer.” 

Our family met with three other 8 year old boys and three parents in the movie theatre lobby after the show. We collectively agreed that this movie was entertaining for all ages.  My 8 year old son summed it up this way: “It was funny all the way through, a little emotional in the middle and very physical at the end.”  This would be a good date movie as well: not too heavy, not too sappy, no curse words, no nudity and lots of laughs—how refreshing.

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