As all of you should know—assuming that you both appreciate art and are not someone who is, as they say, stupid as F—the film Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a classic piece of American cinema. It is light. It is hilarious. It is, unequivocally, Kevin James’ seminal work. And considering that Hitch, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Zookeeper, and Doug Heffernan’s 1 episode arch on the Ted Danson vehicle Becker are all a part of the man's acting cannon, I really can’t make a more complimentary statement about any body of work that has ever existed than the one I just made.
Because in it Paul Blart is a man who wants to serve, a man who is told that he is not good enough, or skinny enough, or able to do things like run or jump or shoot guns without passing out due to his low blood sugar well enough, to be the person he desires to be. And yet Paul Blart refuses to let those perceptions define him. Paul Blart, despite what everyone else may think of him, is man that decides his own destiny. Paul Blart, despite how he appears from the outside looking in, is a man that determines his own fate.
Paul Blart, at his core, is the most vulnerable of heroes, the one who steps up not because he is looking to be heroic; the one who steps up because, at that time, and in that place, there is no one else who can. That is, ultimately, what makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop worthwhile. That is, ultimately, what Paul Blart: Mall Cop undeniably good.
A disservice to or avoidance of all of these qualities, on the other hand, is ultimately what makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2—a movie I recently rented for a $6 fee that will be added to my parent’s cable bill in the third most substantial investment my mom and dad have made towards my happiness—a disastrously conceived piece of filmmaking when compared to its earlier counterpart. Unlike its predecessor Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is not worthwhile. Unlike its predecessor Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is not redeeming. Unlike its predecessor Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is not good.
That doesn’t mean, however, that in the film Paul Blart, the character, has nothing left to offer us. In this horrendous sequel Paul Blart is still, even in the most contrived of comedic situations, a man who can teach us something about ourselves. In this horrendous sequel Paul Blart is still, even in his most tiring attempts at humor, capable of spitting wisdom in our directions and illuminating our minds. In this horrendous sequel Paul Blart is still, through the perspicacity of his words, a person that possesses the ability to inform us on all how we should see the world.
In this horrendous sequel I am still invested in Paul Blart the character, the man, the security officer, the father. After this horrendous sequel I still believe that the world would be a better place if there were more people like Paul Blart in it. That’s what this post is about. That’s the kind of person that this post is trying to help us all to be.
Now here are some lines in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 that in their erudition and insight can move us all closer to accomplishing that goal. So take this chance to read, to learn, to grow. After all that’s what Paul Blart would’ve wanted for us. After all that’s what we should all want for ourselves.
Spoiler Alert: Reading Further will ruin every scene of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 if you are one of the 19 people in America who has not seen it yet.
Life Lesson 1: Slowing It Down
Quote: “When’d you start saying zip? I don’t like it. Hipster talk. You need to slow down young lady.”
Context: Paul Blart’s daughter says zip approximately 18 times in 2.5 sentences while discussing hot sauce with a hotel waiter she has a crush on.
What it Teaches Us: People are always trying to move too fast in modern society with their smart telephone contraptions and Instagram photos of dogs running perfectly good tennis balls without consequences. You know who isn’t moving fast (or wearing cut-off jean shorts)? Paul Blart. Paul Blart moves at a solid pace. Because that is as fast as Paul Blart can go.
Potential Film Spinoff Inspiration: Paul Blart: Speed-Walker. Paul Blart struggles with his desire not to move too fast, and its essential conflict with his newfound quest to become the speed-walking champion of New Jersey. Paul Blart also struggles when he realizes that you are not allowed to ride a Segway in speed-walking competitions, a narrative that serves as the film’s most interesting subplot.
Life Lesson 2: Adapting to Your Surroundings
Quote: “I once fell asleep raking leafs.”
Context: Paul Blart is “upgraded” to a hotel room with one bed. He tells his daughter not to worry because sleeping on a rollaway mattress, when compared to sleeping while standing up in a brisk fall breeze, is his own personal definition of luxury.
What It Teaches Us: Ever complain because you’ve been a 300 lbs. man who is expected to fit on a full-sized mattress at a Holiday Inn Express? Cause I have. And Paul Blart hasn’t. Nuff said.
Potential Film Spinoff Inspiration: Paul Blart: Narcolepsy Survivor. Turns out that Paul Blart’s ability to fall asleep while raking leafs doesn’t demonstrate sticktoitiveness or perseverance, and instead is a nasty side effect of the insidious disease known as narcolepsy. Paul Blart then must conquer his narcolepsy and figure out a way to do yard work without losing consciousness.
Life Lesson 3: Constant Vigilance
Quote: “Security is a mission…not an intermission.”
Context: Paul Blart’s daughter tries to go out with a boy without bringing her backup cellphone battery, pepper spray, miniature knife, or sexual assault protection whistle (disclaimer: the words "sexual assault" are not used in the movie).
What it Teaches Us: Doing stuff like stopping terrorism or shoplifters at a Banana Republic is not like attending a play; you don’t get to leave the theater and take a load off with a glass of chardonnay and some chocolate covered strawberries between acts. Paul Blart knows that. And, thanks to this line, everyone in America now knows it too.
Potential Film Spinoff Inspiration: Paul Blart Goes to Washington. After his heroics in Mall Cop 2 new president Donald Trump selects Paul Blart to be a part of his all-male (and consequently dumber than it should be) cabinet as the Director of Homeland Security. Once in Washington Blart, along with sidekick and Transportation Security Don Johnson, must thwart a Canadian plan to have all their citizens pee directly into their half of Lake Superior so that the urine will eventually drift down into the United States and poison innocent Americans in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with impunity.
Life Lesson 4: Respecting Your Elders
Quote: “There’s a old lady who can’t find her car in Parking Level F. Because there is no Parking Level F. It only goes up to D.”
Context: Paul Blart is giving the keynote address at the Mall Cop convention about how being the guy that deals with old people who don’t know how to read is a small price to pay in your endeavor to also be the guy that keeps the area outside of a Brooks Brother’s safe from people who defecate in public.
What It Teaches Us: That there are old woman out there who drive their cars to and from suburban malls while also thinking that the small children they pass crossing the street are raccoons that are capable of walking upright and must be eliminated from Earth immediately.
Potential Film Spinoff Inspiration: Paul Blart: Old Folks Home Proprietor. Paul Blart buys a string of old folks home, only to encounter the unexpected challenges connected to old people’s insatiable sexual appetite and hardcore drug abuse. In the end Paul Blart has a choice: respect the old folks in spite of their flaws, or curse their generation and isolate himself from them completely. You know which way Paul Blart goes. He’s a stand up guy. And, from what I hear, doing molly with elderly people is dope.
Life Lesson 5: Industriousness
Quote: “We’ve come to a fork in the road.”
Context: Paul Blart is dropping food utensil puns in the direction of a bad guy right before he shoots a fork out of a crossbow and into said bad guy’s chest. Interesting sidenote: no one seems to care that Paul Blart just murdered somebody.
What It Teaches Us: Ever been in a situation when you needed to kill a bad guy—say an evil sports owner or a guy who started a chain of puppy mills (although they may be one and the same?)—but then, as soon as you crossed said wrong doers past, you realized that you didn’t have a gun, knife, sword, throwing star, really strong strangling rope or other device necessary to commit homicide at your disposal? Yeah. You probably have. If only you had a fork and crossbow on you at all times like someone who loves America would.
Potential Film Spinoff Inspiration: Paul Blart: Kitchen Hitman. Think about all the things in your kitchen that you could use to kill bad guys: knives, forks (apparently), spoons (maybe), a whisk, cling wrap, spoiled milk. Now think about having Paul Blart stationed in your kitchen at all times so he could kill any villain who happens to be stealing your bagel bites and forever exonerate you from being a murderer in the eyes of the law. Now think about a movie whose entire plot is built around that idea. Now think about writing that script and sending it to me so I can submit it to Warner Brothers on “your” (my) behalf…
Life Lesson 6: Self-Confidence
Quote: “Always bet on Blart”
Context: Paul Blart’s final line during his ultimate battle with the head of the evil art thieving ring of bad guys he’s been attempting to thwart before head butting said evil art thief’s boil-covered face (he was allergic to oatmeal, which Paul Blart’s daughter remembered just in time to spread oatmeal infused sun tan lotion all over his eyes) into oblivion and saving his daughter, and Steve Wynn’s art collection, forever.
What It Teaches Us: Paul Blart, in spite of how he appears to the rest of the world around him, believes in himself. That’s why he bets on himself. And that’s why, whenever someone tries to kidnap his daughter, he is the one who comes out on top and rescues innocent lives like it’s his job because, let’s be honest, it is.
Potential Film Spinoff Inspiration: Paul Blart: Winners Win. Paul Blart creates a new self-help strategy that transforms many overweight and otherwise marginalized members of our society into the greatest people on the face of the Earth by teaching them how to grow a mustache, cruise on a Segway and stop every instance of crime that the world has ever known. Thanks Paul Blart, for making the world a better place. Thanks again Paul Blart, for giving everyone out there a reason to believe.
Thanks Paul Blart, for giving me a reason to believe. Whatever life throws my way, I'll be ready. Because I'll always remember what your films have shown me about overcoming adversity. And now, after posting this blog, I'll always remember what your terrible sequel verbally told me about it as well.