Heroes neither born nor made in ‘Mall Cop 2’

Rachel Jenks

Forced comedy, one-dimensional characters, bad writing and a plot so generic it’s painful. That was the recipe used to create “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” Bearing a measly 5 percent on RottenTomatoes.com, I went into this movie having rock bottom expectations.

Still, it managed to find a shovel and dig itself into a hole of disappointment. Not even three minutes in, and I was imagining things I would rather be doing: laundry, math, skydiving without a parachute…

“Mall Cop 2,” released on April 17, is a sequel to the first “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” which was released in 2009 to mostly negative reviews.

Like its predecessor, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” stars Kevin James as an overweight, overzealous, Segway-driving mall cop.

Beyond these qualities, Blart, like every other character in the movie, lacks any sort of depth. Instead of coming off as charming and funny, his dimwittedness and inflated sense of self-importance are intolerable. The villain is a run-of-the-mill antagonist that fails to raise any sense of impending doom, especially since his kryptonite is oatmeal.

The characters’ personalities are static, and many are tired tropes too often seen in lazy writing. The sassy black female friend; the overachieving child, struggling between approval and independence; the villain’s die-hard right-hand man; the list goes on and on.

It seems little effort was put into actually creating a single interesting character in this film.

Instead of taking place in a mall like the first movie, this one takes place in Las Vegas, where Blart has been invited to attend a security guard convention. And of course, it just so happens that an evil mastermind plans to steal the valuable art pieces of the hotel Blart is staying at.

Who better to stop him than an undertrained and unfit mall security guard? This plot asks the viewer to slash their IQ in half (in thirds?) so they might not guess every detail before it happens.

It’s understandable that the comedy employed in this production shouldn’t be too complex, as its target audience is mainly children. It relied heavily on physical comedy and Blart’s extreme reactions to everyday situations.

Neither was properly executed to produce a comedic effect, though, even at a juvenile level.

The slapstick was overacted and overused, lacking cleverness. I think there’s only so many times you can hit old ladies before it stops being funny, and “Mall Cop 2” exceeded its quota. Blart’s zany personality wasn’t amusing but annoying. There were no subtle nuances to his humor, and many of the comedic aspects relied solely on his weight.

The treatment of women’s roles was also less than desirable. When one of Blart’s colleagues is drunkenly hitting on a woman at the bar, and she clearly tells him she’s not interested, Blart takes it upon himself to convince the woman otherwise.

Blart also defiantly and repeatedly tells the hotel manager that she actually is attracted to him, contrary to what she plainly states.

She finally concedes, telling him “I can’t say no to you,” but while her admission is supposed to be romantic, it left a bad taste in my mouth from the haranguing Blart directed at her until she acquiesced.

How “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” got funding to be produced is truly a mystery. This 94-minute movie was about 92 minutes too long.

It’s almost like the creator tried to make a terrible movie— otherwise I don’t understand where any effort was put into it.

In short, a movie that claims to be a comedy failed to elicit even a single laugh from me. Giving this movie even one star is a real stretch.