And as the Monty Python crew would say, "Now for something completely different," and never has the case been more true, with the brutality of Bronson acting as a stark contrast to the family-friendly comedy that is Paul Blart: Mall Cop. To fill you in readers on some facts regards Paul Blart, the film was made for a relatively modest in Hollywood $26 million and has become a real surprise success financially, return over $200 million dollars, returning profits eight-fold. And how exactly it returned this money I will get to in due time. Anyway, to start on the plot, Paul Blart is an overweight single parent divorcee, who has failed to pass his State Police physical due his passing out as a result of hypoglycemia. Blart, down on his luck with regards to his love life and feeling low about himself, befriends a young woman who runs a kiosk in the mall that he acts as security guard. However, things go pear-shaped when a group of thieves attempt to use credit card codes to steal $30 million take hostages in the mall, Blart is the only security guard left in the building, and as a result, it is up to him to save the day. Now, from what I gather, and surely this must have been the intention of the film-makers, is that Paul Blart is supposed be a representative symbol of white-collar America. He is a man who works to put food on the table for his daughter and his mother, at times feels pretty down on himself, and is, of course, overweight. Now, please, any American reading this do not be offended, but this is merely a stereotype which Americans have become associated with as a result of films like this and the consumerist culture: it's not you fault! It's the bureaucrats and bourgeoisie! Anyway, excusing digressions and justifications, this is what Paul Blart as a character seems to represent, to me you would have to be a fool not to realise this. And this brings me to what is good about the film. Truthfully, Kevin James I feel does play the Paul Blart character from this "typical American" perspective rather well, and also injects not neccessarily what I would call a charm, for he is not a charming fellow, but rather in my opinion a warmth, a kindness and a sense that this character is really just a nice guy. Seeing someone in a lead role play character who doesn't seem to have any dark side or dark arc to their character is very refreshing to see nowadays. Blart is almost a symbol for purity in this sense, a characterisation of good against evil. Also, I cannot deny that there are the odd giggles, mostly as a result of Kevin James' Blart. However, as much as I was warmed by the character Blart, this is not a good film. In fact, it is certainly one of the worst films of the year. The only reason that I was able to keep watching was because of the warmth of the Blart character. Maybe that was the smokey haze that covered everyone else from all the crap of the film. For starters, the plot is absolutely predictable as anything and completely atrocious. The central plot, which sees Blart seeking love, is so corny and so cheesy that it is beyond annoying and quite simply would drive one to the edge of sanity if it were not for the good nature of Blart. Also, the hook of the film, which sees the thieves take over the mall and Blart attempting to save the day is completely stupid. Using freerunners and scary people dressed like skaters contrasted to the fat Blart, this is a completely empty attempt at building tension and is completely farcical in the worst way possible in that you are actually able to tell what is a joke and what isn't. It's like those signs in a taped television interview that highlight "APPLAUSE." It is like the film-makers are telling you when to laugh. I was actually talking to a friend (you know who you are) with regards to this film. He said that there was one good gag in the film, and that is when Blart rises out of a ball pit via his segueway in a clear nod to Nosferatu. Now I'm sorry, I know I'm a grumpy critic, but for me, the fact that when a friend says that the film's best laugh was a nod to another film which is incidentally now 87 years old, I think that just proves how bad the film is. From a technical standpoint, the film is more or less non-existent, I don't even remember there being music in the film, the cinematography and editing simply serve their purpose, and the direction is more or less non-existent. The big question: Why has Paul Blart made so much money? Answer: America. The film has only made all this money in America because it is exactly the kind of film that appeals to middle-America. It represents everything that the Conservative Republicans would like to see in every American, and despite the fact that there are good people in America, this movie's financial success only unfortunately seems to demean the country's reputation. I mean, who buys this stuff. It is so bad. This is like the kind of homily you would see in a church. Everything is about symbolism. It's not about the story, or how interesting it is, it is about what represents what. Incidentally, religion is more interesting than this film, that much is certain. To cut myself short, the only appropriate place for Paul Blart is on a Saturday Night Live sketch, for as a comedy character, quite frankly he does not deserve our time.
The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 1.3/10
The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Deeply infuriated