Stars: ** out of Four
Summary: After a slow start, this kid-friendly Die Hard parody finally gets on the Segway, and delivers a good film for lazy afternoons.
Review: Kevin James is one of the those comedic actors who isn’t an arrogant jerk (like, say, Adam Sandler), but he does end up in movies that suck every now and then. ‘I now pronounce you Chuck & Larry’ is a good example of that.
Thankfully, ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’, the first financial hit of 2009, is not.
It’s refreshing to see a goodhearted little comedy film do so well, especially one that doesn’t rely on the raunch factor. Instead, it relies on pop culture familiarity for its laughs, which does usually work. The nice thing about ‘Paul Blart’ is that the titular character is just plain a nice guy, and you root for him instantly. There’s not a whole lot to examine, thankfully, since the film never confronts you with anything particularly morally objectionable or complicated. It’s very straightforward.
Though this film may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s not bad enough to keep it from being a popcorn-and-milkdud-munchin’ entertainer. The best part is, it is actually just good enough.
And yes, Roger Ebert does like this movie.