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Paul Blart Mall Cop


Stars: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O'Donnell, Bobby Cannavale, Shirley Knight, Adam Ferrara, Stephen Rannazzisi, Raini Rodriguez, Allen Covert

Director: Steve Carr

Bulky Kevin James, previously seen opposite Adam Sandler in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, here ploughs the furrow left empty by John Candy's death. As single dad Paul Blart, his attempts to qualify for the local police force founder on his hyperglucemia, which causes him to fall asleep through lack of sugar in the middle of the training course.

He's reduced to eking out a living as a scooter-bound security guard at the local shopping centre, where his disastrous efforts to court boutique owner Amy (Mays) are interrupted when the mall is taken over by a gang of skateboarders, BMX bikers and free runners, headed by inside man Veck (O'Donnell).

Left alone with the gang and its hostages, who seem to vary in number but naturally include Amy and Paul's daughter (Rodriguez), it's up to Blart to save the day.

There are no real laughs here, just a few amiable smiles, but the film works better in the second-half as a comedy-thriller. James hasn't Candy's innate likeability, but he provides a genial centre to the would-be comic mayhem, obviously doing a lot of his own stuntwork. It's modestly entertaining and refreshingly free from toilet humour.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe.
91 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Mar 2009