By Clint Morris
The local shopping centre, or Mall, is somewhere Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time at. It doesnâ€™t really excite me at all to go there (but maybe as a youngster it did), thereâ€™s very little surprises to be had (except, of course, on those days when the power goes off at the Ice-Cream stand and theyâ€™re forced to give out their entire product-line for free. Itâ€™s only ever happened once in my presence unfortunately), and, though it may advertise it self as such, it doesnâ€™t really have something for everybody (like, for instance, the guy whose more interested in buying ex-rental Blu-Ray discs than buying cheap slacks at a no-frills menâ€™s clothing store). If anything, the Mall is a diversion for a couple of hours â€“ something to fill in time.
And funnily enough, most movies set at the mall are the same. Theyâ€™re (flicks like â€œMallratsâ€, â€œJingle All The Wayâ€ or straight-to-video actioner â€œBreakawayâ€, which, like this, centers on a normal guy going up against terrorists that have overtaken a Mall) an entertaining enough diversion, and are sometimes even fleetingly fun, but mostly, theyâ€™d excite you more if you hadnâ€™t already been there-done that â€“ or, for that matter, werenâ€™t out of diapers.
Kevin Jamesâ€™ new shopping centre-centric comedy might be the one that breaks the mould though â€“ itâ€™s refreshing original, immerse with good gags, and even, dare I say it, memorable. Yes, itâ€™ll probably work better on your 12-year-old nephew, but as something thatâ€™s using familiar terrain to juggle jokes, not to mention headlined by an actor thatâ€™s merely channelling John Candy (and not even the John Candy of â€œSplashâ€ or â€œPlanes, Trains & Automobilesâ€ but Candy of â€œThe Great Outdoorsâ€ and more so, â€œArmed & Dangerousâ€), thatâ€™s quite an achievement. Itâ€™s no wonder â€œPaul Blart : Mall Copâ€ has garnered as much greenback as it has at the U.S Box Office.
Produced by the usually-reliable gang at Adam Sandlerâ€™s Happy Madison Productions (â€œBilly Maddisonâ€, â€œGrandmaâ€™s Boyâ€, â€œThe House Bunnyâ€), â€œMall Copâ€ is essentially a spoof of â€œDie Hardâ€ with Jamesâ€™ lone hero, in this case a proud and ambitious shopping center security guard, going up against the criminal troupe that are holding the centre â€“ and its staff â€“ hostage.
Utilizing the storesâ€™ products â€“ be it flashy cop suits, sporting goods, or some hot chilli sauce â€“ Blart single-handedly succeeds in thwarting each of the biking, skating (yeah, someoneâ€™s seen â€œPolice Academy IV : Citizens on Patrolâ€) thugs.
This is easily Jamesâ€™s best work on film. He was amusing in â€œHitchâ€ and â€œI Know Pronounce You Chuck & Larryâ€ (which teamed him with this filmâ€™s producer, Sandler), but this is a real showcase for him â€“ if only because heâ€™s in every scene. Heâ€™s not hilarious, not even â€˜funny to watchâ€™ in the sense that Sandler and Will Ferrel are, but he makes for a likeable normal Joe. His character, sort-of a cross between over-ambitious Ron Burgundy and family-first Uncle Buck, is a good one and has the potential to live on through imminent sequels.
Director Steve Carr probably couldâ€™ve got to the guts of the story quicker â€“ the first half hour is spent getting to know Blart; it isnâ€™t until about 40 minutes in that the hostages take over the Mall â€“ but heâ€™s still managed to craft a universally-entertaining and quite â€˜arrestingâ€™ comedy. Typical of Sandler-produced comedies, itâ€™s got a great soundtrack too â€“ 80s gems by Survivor and ELO can be heard – the man has great taste.
Sequel should be along in a couple of years.
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Against the Current - the band, not adventures in dangerous swimming 101
Zedd - If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? (Well, answer my question!)
Arrow (Okay, Felicity from Arrow!)
Chrissy Costanza (cat eyes and buttery lyrics!)
Girls (TV) (Okay, Allison Williams!)
Movies - especially when they play in the dark.
Twin Peaks (TV)
Friends (TV) (It had me at "No way are you cool enough to pull Clint"; damn straight, Chandler!)
Traveling - preferably where water is, so I can splash someone!
Star Wars trilogy - no, the other one, fella!
Alex G - far more talented than her younger brother Alex H
Cameron Crowe movies - Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous
The sign 'Free Wi-Fi'.
Reenacting dance/song scenes from "Grease" with my little girl (hey! Wait till you see my 'Summer Lovin'! - don't judge)
Die Hard - 40 stories of Sheer Adventure!
Alex Goot & Friends (his enemies aren't half as talented!)
Cooking up a nice dish and sitting in the entertainment area, on a cool night, basking in it's greatness.
Inflatable kids pools full of Vodka Lime Crush.
Acidic Email from angry, over passionate teenagers after I trash something "Twilight"-related on the site. Sparkle elsewhere.
My baby girl's big, caring heart.