Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
|Featuring:||Kevin James … Paul Blart
Raini Rodriguez … Maya
Eduardo Verástegui … Eduardo Furtillo
Daniella Alonso … Divina
Neal McDonough … Vincent
David Henrie … Lane
D.B. Woodside … Robinson
Nicholas Turturro … Nick Manero
Loni Love … Donna Ericone
Gary Valentine … Saul Gundermutt
Ana Gasteyer … Mrs. Gundermutt
|Director:||Andy Fickman—“Parental Guidance” (2012), “Race to Witch Mountain” (2009), “She's the Man” (2006)|
|Producer:||Happy Madison Productions
Sony Pictures Entertainment
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures|
“Vegas has a new high roller”
Prequel: “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (2009)
The bumbling, kindhearted, determined, sometimes infuriating, but always lucky security guard of the West Orange Pavilion Mall is back. Six (6) years ago on Black Friday, Paul Blart (Kevin James) thwarted a group of professional thieves at his mall, freed their hostages, including his daughter, won the heart of the girl of his dreams and became a hero. Today, though, his glory days are behind him, he stands to get the recognition he’s been waiting for when he receives an invitation to the Security Officers Trade Association Expo and Awards show in Las Vegas.
Arriving in Vegas with his daughter Maya, played with sweet charm by Raini Rodriguez, Blart quickly finds himself out of his element, alienating her in the process. Still, he tries to make the best of it, and while Blart is meeting his fellow security officers, Maya becomes fast friends with a hotel valet named Lane (David Henrie) and, unfortunately, crosses paths with Vincent (Neal McDonough), a high roller who has brought a team of thieves with him, ready to rob the Wynn Hotel.
They have taken everything into consideration, except maybe Paul Blart, whose vacation motto is “security is a mission, not an intermission.” As noted here, Paul Blart continues to dispense corny one-liners with all the seriousness that Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for, only to comedic results.
Rated PG, this is the most family-friendly mainstream film I have seen this year, but, as with virtually any film, there are still a few areas that may be of concern, especially for parents of small children.
Violence: Moderate. The film is rife with comic violence and threats of violence, but blood is never shown, and there are no fatalities. Once Blart understands the threat and begins engaging them, there is a lot of fighting and perilous situations shown, including: falling down flights of stairs, being shot at (though never hit), tasered, stabbed/electrocified lightly with a burning fork, hit/brushed by cars, kicked by a horse, pecked by a vicious bird, pelted by a sandbag shotgun and other non-lethal weapons.
A man has a strong facial allergic reaction that can easily appear disturbing to younger children, and Blart’s mother is hit by a truck. This last instance happens in the beginning of the film and, while disturbing and emotional in nature, was not depicted with any detail and was instead presented comically. Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions will always contain this type of shock humor and the allergic reaction and the horse kicking are the most extreme examples in this otherwise family-friendly film.
Language: Minor. No curses are used, and God’s name is only said oncem and that is in a positive manner, when Blart says, “The Good Lord made us this way.” Rather, only curse substitutes are used, as in when Officer Donna (Loni Love in a very funny supporting role), is introduced as working at Mall of Freaking America, and when both Blart and Maya blurt out “Holy Crawfish.” So ,there is no language that will overtly offend families with children. There is a minor sexual reference about someone who “sampled the goods,” but this will most likely not be understood by younger children.
Sex/Nudity: Mild. Kissing, when shown, is brief and either in committed relationships or the innocent contact between father and daughter. The waitresses serving drinks in the casino are in cleavage baring outfits with a prolonged view of one waitress, as Blart accepts a root beer. A pool scene contains swimsuits, but they are mostly background and not the focus. A shirtless man performs in a show. The flirting between Maya and Lane remains an innocent one throughout.
Alcohol is a staple at casinos, so drinking is seen frequentlym and one of the other officers, Nick Manero (Nicholas Turturro), is seen getting ‘pass-out’ drunk. Thankfully, Paul Blart only drinks root beer and states twice, “I don’t drink.”
Obedience—Maya is torn between going away to college and staying with her dad. As do many teenagers, she both says and acts out rebellion. Like precious few, she regrets what she says and, in the end, does what her father wants her to do. This is to be commended, as are we if, despite our grumblings, we still do the will of our Father in Heaven. Should we not rejoice that God is so merciful and just at the same time?
“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God!” —Matthew 21:29-31
Coveting—Being that the setting for this movie is at a Vegas hotel, gambling is naturally present, and Blart does try his hand at this once, but fails miserably, so it is not promoted. On this, the Bible speaks against the sin of coveting, and it does so extensively, while warning us repeatedly about it’s many incarnations.
Love Thy Neighbor—During Blart’s convention speech, he says, “If you believe the purpose of life is to only serve yourself, then you have no purpose. Help someone today.” An admonishment, followed by a command, this reverberates the parable our Lord himself gave us when he tells of the man left beaten by the side of the road, ignored by all the ‘good’ people, but is attended to by an outcast of Jewish society.
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine;, and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Lastly, Blart waxes philosophical at every turn, but his most encouraging thought may be the one he begins the film with, as he says, “The road of life is always under construction. The journey is hard, but once you reach the top, the view is amazing!” Everyone strives for gain, but the Word of God tells us that, as his children, we need to set our sights on a treasure much more valuable than anything the world can offer us.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” —1 Cor. 9:24-25
After a slow start, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” becomes a campy, slapstick filled, over-the-top, ridiculous, but never boring, and occasionally hilarious film. Admittedly, there are many that cannot bear this type of humor, but, if you liked the original “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” you will likely enjoy this sequel, as I did. More appropriate than its predecessor, I recommend this for all ages.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.