Paul Blart: Mall Cop Review
I reviewed the film on its theatrical release so head over here for my original take on Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
After watching the film again I continue to find that the wholesome nature of this family comedy never gets in the way of the humour which remains playful throughout, mixing film spoof with more traditional humour that is driven home through its main protagonist. In the lead role Kevin James makes for the perfect loveable loser, sticking to his personal oath to protect the people of the mall he serves, proving to his little girl and the woman of his dreams that hard work and perseverance do pay off in the face of slacking and looking for the quickest route through life. I could have done without the whole extreme sports aspect of the antagonists, particularly as they’re mostly middle-aged men who just look silly rather than threatening as they skate and BMX their way through the mall, and sadly it’s an aspect that was all the more detrimental on a second viewing as you have more time to think about what’s coming next. For this reason alone I’ve docked the film score by a point, but on the whole if you’re looking for something to fill a lazy evening or Sunday afternoon this film fits the bill very well.
Coded for all regions, this Sony UK release opens with a logo and a couple of legal warnings that can all be skipped using the chapter forward button. From then on you’re into a simple menu which is your gateway to the film and all additional content. Extras are presented in HD and subtitled in English.
The main feature is presented in 1080P 1.85:1 (encoded using AVC) and is yet another example of the sterling work Sony is doing on the format. PB: MC is hardly the greatest looking film out there but its subdued tones are handled perfectly with colours and shadow well delineated while foreground detail is often very striking. I could detect no unnecessary edge enhancement or any other compression issues in regular viewing conditions.
Likewise the English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix – while unlikely to upset the neighbours – is mixed very well with a great balance between audio and music. The latter fills the room with wonderful depth in the scenes that call for it (when Paul is rocking out to Kiss in the Mall arcade, or the karaoke guy’s REO Speedway and Bon Jovi renditions) and really, in a film where there isn’t a great deal of directional effects going on, the clarity afforded by the lossless codec really helps make this a track to appreciate.
English, English SDH and Hindi subtitles are available on the main feature along with an English Audio Description track.
Onto the extras, we have 10 featurettes which run for a total of 45 minutes and come with a ‘Play All’ option. Amongst these is a not very funny gag reel, a brief opening featurette discussing the genesis of the movie in a very promotional manner (“Kevin James is so amazing” etc), a featurette with James musing on Malls and another which looks at the general stunts in the film. The latter is moderately interesting though very brief, and ties in to the remaining featurettes which focus heavily on the pro skaters, bikers and free runners that appear in the film. These range from downright embarrassing (one example being some specially shot material with Kevin James pretending to apprehend one of them for vandalising the mall) to just about worthy of your time (rare instances of genuine behind-the-scenes material as opposed to the constant playing to the camera which otherwise dominates these featurettes). All of the featurettes are heavy on clips and obviously intended as promotional pieces so are best ignored or taken in very small doses.
Next we have 10 deleted scenes which run for 12 minutes. These consist of a few scenes with the pro sports bad guys that are all unnecessary exposition and bad posturing, a better though overly long scene with Paul at home being pushed into taking photos for his online dating profile by mom and daughter, and a few scenes showing Paul at work around the Mall. Everything here was rightly cut but there are a few laughs to be had so these are worth a look.
Probably the best of the extra content is the commentary track with Kevin James and producer Todd Garner which is a solid effort that helps show the collaborative effort that went into the script to develop the comedy. They’re unashamedly appreciative of everyone who worked on the movie which gets tired fast but it seems to be a hazard of commentary tracks these days so I won’t moan too much. Conversely however they’re also more than willing to highlight the film’s flaws, particularly with regard to the plotting which in terms of the heist orchestration really doesn’t work (more so on repeat viewings where for example, as they jokingly point out in the commentary, locking down the mall is achieved with two bike locks).
Lastly we have a trailer for Open Season 2 and BD-Live content in the form of Cinechat (send messages to friends while you watch the movie if you’re that way inclined) and your basic BD-Live centre with trailers for other Sony releases.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a fun little movie that works primarily because of its lead star. The Blu-ray disc offers a great presentation, a decent commentary track and some deleted scenes that are worth your time but I’d advise against the featurettes which focus too heavily on one of the film’s weakest aspects and left me thinking less of the film the more I watched.
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