So there it was, Monday afternoon, and a package arrives in the mail containing a couple of discs, Paul Blart: Mall Cop was one of those discs and given a couple of hours to spare, and my wife's keenness to see the movie I thought I'd give it a spin. About 30 seconds in my expectations plummeted - simply due to the big Happy Madison logo plastered all over the screen. I'm not a fan of Adam Sandler, in fact I despise most of his films, and I expected something as moronic and stupid as those efforts in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Still, as a reviewer you need to give everything a chance, and that's what I did...
Paul Blart (Kevin Smith) is a mild-mannered, dutiful family man who works as a security guard in a New Jersey mall. For years, he has applied to become a cop, but he always fails the physical exam because he is overweight. One day, a gang of organized criminals put the mall under siege and take hostages. Blart becomes trapped inside, and because of his sense of duty, refuses to leave. He thus becomes the police department's eyes on the inside and attempts to stop the criminals on his own.
The problem with this film is the utter predictability, 25 minutes into the film we meet the "boyfriend" of his dream girl Amy. Of course he's an asshole, and there is immediate tension between he and Paul Blart. Riding the Segway, looking at dream girl, of course he's going to crash. Go to a bar "I don't drink", he gets drunk. That's all in the first 30 minutes and I'm sure you can guess how the movie ends when the bad guys take over the mall!
Indeed, one of the most ridiculous moments in this film is when Paul Blart first runs into the robbers in the mall. These robbers have a gun, so rather then running for cover he gets on is Segway and "drives" away from them. They have BMX bikes, but decide to head in the opposite direction to tell their boss that there's still a security guard running around. They don't even pretend to be customers when he first says "Mall's closed". If they had, they could have walked away. Pfft...
Anyway, as you would have gathered by now, overall this is a pretty average movie, with pretty average direction, weak bad guys, and a weak plot. The only think I did enjoy to a small extent was the acting of Kevin Smith who despite his stupidity has a somewhat endearing quality, as did his "dream girl" Amy played by the quite gorgeous Jayma Mays. Exactly how this movie managed to take in $US183 million around the globe is quite unfathomable (then again $US146 million of that was in America alone!). Put it this way, if you like the stupidity of other Happy Madison films then you should like this. For me this movie is more like Paul Blah...
Paul Blart comes to Blu-Ray at the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. As such a recent release there isn't a single mark on the image, it's pristine but it isn't the best looking transfer. It lacks sharpness and vibrancy associated with the most recent releases on Blu-Ray. The image can look a little flat and washed out at times while the contrast levels also appear somewhat unnatural with whites blooming and black occasionally crushing and losing some fine detail. It's not a total write off (it would certainly be preferable over the lower resolution DVD version) but it just doesn't come across as a great Blu-Ray release, and certainly isn't close to reference material quality on the format.
Trailers (5:41/HD): Trailers for "Blu-Ray is High Definition", Ghostbusters and Open Season 2.
Featurettes (49:50/HD): This is a pretty impressive series of 11 featurettes which contains interviews with every main participant on the cast and crew. There's a bit of re-telling of the story, and a bit of goofing around, but overall this is a pretty decent package of extras to keep you busy. The features themselves are "Kevin James: Not Your Average Mall Cop," "Action Sports Junkies," The Mall," "On Set with Mike Rooftop' Escamilla," "Stunts," "Fun on Set," "Mike vs. Mall Cop," "Sugar," "Mall Cop Response," "Free Running vs. Parkour" and "Thoughts with Kevin James".
Deleted Scenes (12:30): Ten deleted scenes are presented here and some of them are actually pretty entertaining. Interestingly these are presented in HD (but using the MPEG-2 codec and only with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio).
PS3 Theme: Put this disc into a PS3 and you can download a Paul Blart Theme for your PS3. It's not the best theme we've seen, but fans may want to put it on.
Review By: Dave Warner