Paul Blart: Mall Cop Blu Ray Review

Saturday, August 15, 2009

You wait ages on a mall cop comedy and two arrive practically within weeks of one another. Paul Blart: Mall Cop sees Kevin James as law, jury and executioner of his local shopping centre. Can he handle the arrival of Blu Ray?

Malls have quickly infused themselves into our culture, their success proving unstoppable. Gone are the drab concrete high streets of the previous years and in their place we have a clean cut environments, featuring identical stores as part of a monotonous, yet safe, inoffensive formula. While Paul Blart: Mall Cop may indeed be set in such a facility; it lacks any inspiration as seen decades previously in Dawn of the Dead. Malls should be a ripe breeding ground for comedy however here the writers stick to a tiresome formula, failing to take advantage of the opportunity, instead content to rely on generic stereotypes and obvious situations.

Paul is portrayed as a friendly local security guard with his own personal issues, which are numerous. Take your pick from aging, overweight, single, lacking confidence, unfit and hypoglycaemic; each of these is used as a basis for gags in the film, some tasteless. Frankly it’s tiresome and a predictable (if unbelievable) love interest ensues, with a heist thrown in for good measure. This blundering fool soon comes good as the mall is taken over by an organised gang, prompting him to use his knowledge, driven onwards by his love interest.

We were so disappointed by the film that we soon started counting the numerous Sony products used as props and devices in scenes. As a Sony financed picture this should not be a real surprise, but the high profile nature of some inclusions makes this example worse than any recent Bond film. Is it no surprise that one confrontation takes place in a Sony store?

The highlight of the Blu Ray is definitely the picture quality of this release that is entertaining and clean cut. It by no means tremendous but captures the range of colours and detail of a vibrant mall. The soundtrack is pretty inoffensive, with some good use of the surround channels at key moments. The real highlight is the strong song selection during certain scenes.

On paper the extras look sizeable with the featurettes along numbering eleven. This first impression is vanquished quickly when you realise that all of these rotate around the same axis, failing to offer any real insight into the roots of the film and the creative process. Instead it seems the producers felt the target market for this movie were the kids who love skateboarding, BMX, free running and other extreme sports. Why? Well, we’d guess that 95% of the extra footage and dialogue across the eleven shorts is all about the stunts.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop is unique because the actual real-life stars of skateboarding, BMX and so on, actually have real roles in the film comprising the criminal contingent. This knowledge explains the poor standard of acting evident in the film, but provides the producer with the excuse to create these MTV-friendly features all about the stunts. It is extremely tiresome and having worked our way through these extras, we never want to see an extreme sport stunt again!

The remaining extras comprise of a trailer for Open Season 2 (which looks awful), instantly forgettable deleted scenes, the BD Live chat facility and a commentary from Kevin James and the producer. This track is reasonable, with plenty of anecdotes and hilarity evident. Both discuss the original writing sessions and the changes that had to be made in the final product. They both display a love for the film, but you have to wonder why the final product turned out to be so bland.

In Paul Blart: Mall Cop you have a tasteless comedy that lacks any real laughs, making it a potential disaster. The sad compilation of extras makes this a worthless disc that is best avoided, or at most a rental to remind you how bad things can actually be.

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