Paul Blart: Mall Cop

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

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 122 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 7, and 11 year old Written by3kidsmama June 15, 2009

You should preview this movie before letting your child see it.

This movie was fun for me and my husband to watch...but not my children. I made a bad parenting move by not checking out Common Sense Media before letting my 1... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 year old Written byWilliam Adrian ... September 5, 2009
This movie is unbelievable!! My kids wanted to see this so I decided to let them . We all went to see it and left during the middle of it . It was very violent... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old January 4, 2010
i think it is an ok movie, but parents think twice about letting kids see it. there is lots of violence and language, and it should be PG-13. violence-mainly f... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysuper movie reviewer January 2, 2010

good but pushing it for a PG movie

I saw this movie a couple months ago and i thought that it was pritty good. But all the vilonce, rude rumor, and language i thought was pushing it for a PG movi... 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

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