Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Paul Blart: Mall Cop Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Kevin James' slapstick comedy will amuse older tweens.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 130 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Positive themes of heroism and the importance of doing your job well, no matter the task. But lots of fat jokes, too.

Positive Role Models & Representations

An overweight security guard is bound by honor and devotion to the mall he protects. Unlikely people show extraordinary bravery. A young girl wants to help her father find a wife. On the other hand, many jokes are made at the expense of the obese.

Violence

Criminals take hostages at gunpoint and attempt to kill Paul Blart. He's beaten up but also bests various thieves. Most of the violence is humorous, but occasionally one of the criminals says something about threatening to "off" a hostage (including a child) or blow cops up, etc., and there are a few explosions. But there's no blood -- just bruises from all of the physical comedy.

Sex

There are discussions about romantic relationships, dating, online dating, and hooking up. Two characters kiss. During an altercation with a woman, her blouse is pulled up, and viewers can see her bra for most of the scene. Also, an extended scene takes place in Victoria's Secret.

Language

A couple of stronger words (including one "s--t," as well as "ass," "hell," and "oh my God"), but mostly insults about Paul Blart: "fat," "stupid," "loser," etc.

Consumerism

Since the film is set in a mall, tons of chain stores are featured, shown, or at the very least mentioned -- including Victoria's Secret, Hallmark, Sharper Image, Kay's, Lord & Taylor, Orange Julius, Dunkin Donuts, Williams Sonoma, Teavana, Legal Seafood, Hello Kitty, Zale's, McDonald's, and more. Also visible: Rock Band, PlayStation 3, Rainforest Café, and Paul's ubiquitous Segway.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Paul and his co-workers go out for happy hour, and he drinks so much that he gets very drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that since this slapstick comedy is set in a mall, it features a tremendous amount of consumer/product integration. As a result, almost every scene includes a real mall store or restaurant. There are lots of humorous pratfalls -- but the criminals also threaten to kill people and use guns, and there are a few explosions. Several jokes target the obese (including the main character). The language is mostly confined to insults (though there's at least one use of "s--t," as well as a couple uses of "hell," "ass," and "oh my God"), and the sexuality is limited to flirting, a kiss ... and an extended scene set in Victoria's Secret.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnonymos June 26, 2019
Parent of a 2-year-old Written byAnounymous June 19, 2019
Kid, 11 years old June 28, 2020

BEST FAMILY MOVIE EVER IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND!!!!!

Definitely one of my favorite movies! Paul is a good role model cuz he always tries to do the right thing and protect innocent people. No inappropriate scenes.... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 31, 2020

FUN FUN FUN

This movie sums up adventure and comedy plus the scene in the bar is pretty hilare! There is loads of comic violence and quite a lot of drinking reference. If u... Continue reading

What's the story?

Kevin James stars as Paul Blart, a Segway-mounted security guard at New Jersey's West Orange Pavilion Mall. Having repeatedly dropped out of the New Jersey State Troopers' academy test (low blood sugar makes him pass out without any notice), lonely single dad Paul takes his job too seriously and lives with his mom and daughter -- and he hasn't had a date in so long that they set up an online profile for him. After meeting lovely new kiosk owner Amy (Jayma Mays), Paul thinks she could be the one to look past his schlubby exterior to the sweet, courageous man inside. To prove himself to her, he stays in the mall to try and save her and a group of other hostages captured by a group of young criminals on the hunt for a huge identity-theft score.

Is it any good?

At first PAUL BLART: MALL COP just seems like another broad, brainless Adam Sandler-produced comedy aimed at teen and tween boys. But as the plot thickens, James' teddy-bear of a protagonist actually begins to grow on the audience. Despite the many fat jokes (which are thankfully not aimed at Raini Rodriguez, the cute, chubby actress who plays Blart's daughter Maya), there's none of the raunch that's defined Sandler's signature brand of humor. Blart doesn't make apologies for who he is -- a food-loving, mustachioed, unfashionable man who loves his job and his mother and daughter and would risk his life to save any innocent mall shopper.

The physical comedy is surprisingly well executed, with James pratfalling with the ease and grace of Chevy Chase or Buster Keaton. Mays is like the second coming of Anna Faris, and the acrobatic, skateboarding crew of criminals put on an entertaining cat-and-mouse chase around the mall. The mall, it should be noted, deserves its own credit, since the movie prominently plugs many a store -- particularly an extended scene in Victoria's Secret. So, yes, this is a broad, silly comedy filled with consumer brands -- but it also has, embodied in its brave buffoon of Paul Blart, heart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the movie's mall setting makes its brand/product placement more or less obvious. Are all of the stores and brands distracting, or are they just part of the scenery? Do you think that has more or less impact than other kinds of product placement?

  • Families can also discuss the appeal of "underdog" heroes. What makes Paul an underdog? How does he overcome the odds?

  • The movie makes several references to his weight, as well as featuring sight gags about obese women. Is it OK to poke fun at some groups but not others? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

Themes & Topics

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