Sunday, June 21, 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

At 5:30 AM, sitting in a mountain-themed airport bar, desperately waiting for the magical 6 O’clock hour to roll around so we can restart the drinking most of us only stopped a few hours earlier, our conversation turned to possible in-flight entertainment.

“Last time I flew to Mexico,” I said.  “The movie was College Road Trip with Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone.”  Side note, it was followed by episodes of “The George Lopez Show,” neither of which I watched.

“It will probably be something like Paul Blart:  Mall Cop,” replied one of my travel companions.  We had a good laugh and checked to see if we were any closer the time when they start selling us booze.

Low and behold, as soon as we’re airborne, bound for Houston and ultimately the high mountains of central Mexico, we get the announcement that the in-flight movie will actually be one Paul Blart:  Mall Cop.

I can’t stand Kevin James, who plays the titular character.  He is not funny, a fact I feel completely comfortable stating due to the regrettable number of “King of Queens” reruns I’ve watched thanks to an undying love of Leah Remini that dates back to a two episode guest stint on “Who’s the Boss?”

Now I was hard up, too tired to read, to lazy to dig any of the collection of spaghetti westerns I brought with me out of my bag, but there is still no way in hell I’m going to intentionally watch this unfortunate blockbuster.  But when you’re exhausted and sleep deprived and there is a little blinking box that you have devoted most of your life to dangling in front of you like a seductress, sometimes your eyes just automatically drift that way.

Since I didn’t listen to it, I made up my own version.  Here is what I think happened.  Paul Blart is fat.  No shocker there since that fact seems to make up most of Kevin James’ schtick.  Paul Blart is a mall cop.  Again, not surprising, it is in the title.  Paul Blart wants to be a cop but continually fails year after year, primarily because he is fat.  I can only assume that he is the butt of a running joke in the police department.

In addition to this he surrounds himself with wacky sidekicks from the mall.  There is a stereotypical Jew, a weed smoking Indian fellow reminiscent of Kumar from the Harold & Kumar movies, and a guy who is so incredibly overweight that he makes Kevin James look positively healthy in comparison.  The two of them apparently get into a nacho eating contest at a bar.  There is also the cute girl that works in some kiosk, and who Blart secretly pines after.

Blart screws up at every turn, mostly because he’s a jackass, but for some reason we are still supposed to root for him.  We are supposed to feel his pain and want good things to happen.

Then some extreme sports enthusiasts take over the mall.  Again, I wasn’t listening or paying much attention at all, so I don’t know why, but I suspect it was so they could swap hostages for their bros who have been wrongly imprisoned for riding a jet ski into a municipal fountain or something stupid like that.  But seriously, it’s like a Mountain Dew commercial went terrorist and occupied a mall.  There is a skateboarder, and while I’m not sure what tactical advantage that would give you in this situation, there is a pitiful excuse for a chase scene between him and Blart on a Segway.  Of course Parkour is the new big thing, so there are a also a couple of them, as well as a guy on a BMX who pointlessly leaps over things on the abundance of launch ramps that this particular mall seems to have randomly scattered throughout the food court. 

I’m not a professional mercenary, but I would hazard to guess that in a situation like this, where you and your crew are attempting an armed takeover, it would behoove you to have a bunch of guns.  Maybe I’m making assumptions again, and talking out of turn, but arming myself would probably be one of the first things I would do.  That’s just me.  Not these guys, mind you, they seem to have a woeful lack of all things firearm.  Curious.

So these guys take over Blart’s mall, and kidnap his girl, all while he plays a shredding game of Guitar Hero at the arcade and notices nothing due to his complete ineptitude.  Because no one else can or will, Blart fights back, much like a portly, not in any way badass, Bruce Willis.  I assume he wins and gets the girl, but I’m not sure.  I lost interest after he jumped his Segway from building to building then fell through a skylight into a ball pit.  That is usually how these things end, with everything all hunky dory.  People who saw this movie expect certain things.

I have one final assumption.  Through sheer valor, risk, bravery, and courage, I’m sure that Blart earned their respect and was offered a position on the police force, his lifelong dream finally realized.  But I also assume he turned down this offer in order to stay at the mall, where he really belongs, with his new lady and assortment of freaks and weirdoes who are like family, in order to keep the mall safe for future generations of consumers.  We thank you Paul Blart:  Mall Cop.

Fortunately, by the time The Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin (remember when he was funny?  I miss those days) came on I was finally able to scrounge a few minutes of blissful sleep when the child behind me wasn’t kicking my seat.