Oh Happy Madison, you keep us in business (other than the upcoming hit The Do Over, obviously). At this point it’s a bit hit or miss whether I’m going to merely dislike a Happy Madison film or if I will become enraged and full of hate, not only for the film but for myself at having watched it. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2? Somewhere in the middle. Perhaps I was in a good mood, but I didn’t think this really dipped down into the Strange Wilderness/Grown Ups arena, where everyone just lobs half-hearted, mean-spirited jabs at each other, takes their $5 million, and heads home. It also wasn’t quite in the arena of Benchwarmers and Bucky Larson, where you’re not totally sure you haven’t entered some bizarre alternate dimension where the concept of comedy has been turned on its ear. No, this was just a middling feature, kind of like Zookeeper or Blended. Nothing that offended my sensibilities (and that’s good!).
To me the whole Paul Blart genre is an old fashioned one. The plots are pretty much straight out of an Ernest P. Worrell feature or a Three Ninjas straight-to-DVD romp. Oh no! A bunch of BMX riding baddies have taken over a mall! Get Paul Blart on the case. Oh no! A bunch of art thieves have taken down a casino. If only Paul Blart and a bunch of other Mall Cops were here to save the day. All the while his daughter is teeny-boppin’ and MacGyvering her way in and out of jams. It’s essentially a kids film. And if you think real, real hard about it almost all of Happy Madison’s productions are just that: kids films. Blended, Grown Ups, Paul Blart, Zookeeper, Jack and Jill, etc. are essentially kids films. They have a big goofy clown up front to make the kids laugh. Animals fight humans constantly (they may as well be talking). The plots are paper thin nonsense. All conflict is contrived. Kids are often the center of the real romantic story line. These are children’s films. And yet here we are, years after swearing off kids films for BMT, going back to the well over and over as if Sandler is doing anything other than create children’s films disguised as films for adults. That’s how he makes his money. No wonder he makes a film targeted more for adults (Pixels) only to have it straight bomb at the box office.
And I don’t think realizing that these movies are kids films (or maybe more accurately family films… maybe) changes anything. It’s basically a matter of Poe’s law. A satire where you can’t tell it’s a satire is a bad satire. A kids film where you can’t tell it’s a kids film is a bad kids film. People looking for an adult film will be offended and people looking for a kids film will be offended. And that, my friends, is how Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 gets a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. Oh, and also it’s trash.
Moving on, I knew that Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 would have a solid MonoSklog cause you saw from the trailer that he gives a lengthy speech, but I also felt like I’ve been copping out and doing MonoSklogs too many times lately. Don’t worry, I’ll whip it out for a down week. Instead I have a new game! I call it On the Bright Side and it’s where I tried to find a scene in the movie that I actually liked or laughed at loud at. There were a few funny moments: Neal McDonough’s two different colored eyes, Paul Blart punching a maid, and a piano player super into playing the piano for example. But the winner for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’s On the Bright Side scene involves a super black banana and it goes a little something… like… this:
That was pretty disgusting, but I still chuckled at it. It’s just so black.
‘Ello everyone. Paul Blart Mall Cop 2?! Nuff said. Not even going to go for the low hanging fruit (… Paul Fart Mall Crap in case anyone was wondering. Always sophisticated stuff). This movie was an enigma of a riddle. Is it horrible? Is it kind of funny? Do I hate myself for watching this? Is my brain melting and dripping out of my nose? Impossible to tell. Let’s get into it:
- There is a veritable spectrum of Happy Madison productions. You have the higher quality Sandler vehicles. Then the slightly less-so James vehicles. A bit further down you have the scraps that Spade and Schneider pick up. Then really far down are things like Bucky Larson and Strange Wilderness. This is like Blended: innocuous enough, but giant portions of it are just contrived nonsense. In Blended it was a ridiculous ostrich ride. Here is was …
- Segway riding, an unnecessary (and awful) battle sequence and a long sequences of security guards trying out various non-lethal weapons. None are great. You see, it is like a Sandler led film except more so. Got to kick it up a bit to account for a smaller lead.
- The beginning is dark. His wife divorces him after six days and then his mother dies. He is launched into a horrible six year struggle with depression (which he continues to deal with throughout the films shockingly frequent “real talk” segments). Just really really sad stuff.
- And a bunch of the jokes are, unfortunately, the not-great jokes from Paul Blart (just bigger and better because Vegas. Fuck yeah!). Decidedly less funny than the already dire original.
- On a lighter note: Could not be more set in Vegas. They really went to town with the Wynn. Good for them.
- And Neal McDonough kind of kills it. At the very least he certainly knows what kind of movie he is in, and it is actually a pretty great skewing of the classic too-cool-for-school heist movie bad guy. “I have two different colored eyes! That tells you all about how I live my life!” is one of his lines and a rare laugh-out-loud moment for me during the film.
I’m thinking Prequel because I need more Neal “BMT Legend” McDonough in my life. Straight action movie with him as the bad guy. He’s setting up for a heist and Swordfish style a young hotshot hacker (played by Nick Swardson … “young”) is brought in to help him out (but he’s a secret CIA agent). As things go awry, Swardson is called on to go beyond the call of duty and stop McDonough. In the end McDonough kills Swardson, gets away, and everyone just looks shocked for a bit. Fade to black and then smash cut to a trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.