Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Coming from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production stable, this family comedy initially had me assuming the brace position.

By the end one feels better than expected, chiefly because Kevin James makes a more endearing – and vastly more amusing – funny man than Sandler ever will. James plays the eponymous Blart, a lardy lummox who can't make it as a real cop so pursues his security duties in a New Jersey mall with absurd officiousness. Unlucky in love, he gets his chance to impress shopowner Amy (Jayma Mays, a living Barbie) when a gang of skate-rat thieves take over the mall; soon Blart is performing inept commando rolls and giving the villains a soft Bruce Willis-style runaround – not so much Die Hard as Dough Hard. There's one very good visual gag involving those security-tape queues you get in airports, and James is quite winning as the tubby have-a-go hero. But let's not go nuts over it, otherwise they'll insist on a sequel.