A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop dishes up more of the same slapstick-y, cheesy silliness that was in the first one (as well as a fair bit of heart, especially in the form of Paul's dedication to his job and his relationship with his daughter). Also similar to the first one? All of the product placement -- there are signs, stores, and name-brand stuff everywhere. And the fat jokes. And the cartoonish violence -- expect tons of pratfalls, as well as fist fights and battles involving non-lethal weapons. There are also tenser moments when characters' lives are in danger and when guns make an appearance. A high school senior attends a party where underage kids are drinking (she doesn't), but there's not much in the way of language or sexual content (some flirting and allusions to sex -- but no Victoria's Secret scene this time!).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is at it again, this time in Las Vegas, where he and his high school senior daughter, Maya (Raini Rodriguez), are visiting while Blart attends a security convention. Rumor has it that he'll finally be recognized by his peers for his derring-do at his New Jersey mall six years ago. He could really use the break: His wife has left him, and his mother was run over by a milk truck. But it looks like Blart may have to wait for another moment in the sun, as he soon discovers the attendees aren't there to see him after all. Meanwhile, a thieving art collector (Neal McDonough) has made the convention's hotel far more inhospitable to Blart and his colleagues than they ever bargained for.
Is it any good?
No new ground is broken in PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2, and no real, authentic comedic gold is mined. That said, James is delightfully down-to-earth and game for the movie's brand of fun, which makes it decently entertaining to watch if you're in the right mood/mindset. A side plot about his soon-to-be empty nest is somewhat heartwarming, but there's really not much to make it memorable. And it flirts with offensiveness -- there are jokes at the expense of the elderly and the overweight, and Blart's overprotectiveness borders on the unhinged overprotectiveness -- but it's so flimsy that it ultimately doesn't have the weight (no pun intended) to offend. Were it not for James, the movie would be an absolute pass.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about all of the brand/product placement in the Paul Blart movies. Is it distracting, or is it just part of the scenery? Do you think that has more or less impact than other kinds of product placement? How can you teach your kids to understand when something is an ad?
The movie makes several weight-based jokes. Is it OK to poke fun at some groups but not others? Why or why not? How can media affect kids' body image?
Is Paul's dedication to his job something to be admired, or is the movie making fun of him? Or both? What makes him an underdog? How does he overcome the odds? What is the movie saying about the nature of success?
How does the movie portray Paul's relationship with his daughter? Is he a good dad? Are his emotions about her going away to college soon understandable, even if they're played for laughs?
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