Is this the pinnacle of this fat comedian's career?

I have to admit, I never have been a fan of Kevin James.  His routine is to be the butt of jokes by everyone else in the room.  This is strangely appealing to a lot of people, but I am not sure why.  Being fat is inherently funny.  That much I get.  I can appreciate a good fat guy moment as much as the next guy.  One of the best lines of all time in a comedy was in Stripes, when John Candy, sensing opportunity in the wake of Warren Oates’ character, Sgt. Halka, being knocked out of a training post by an errant mortar, leans over the clearly disabled Halka and says:

“Sarge, does this mean we’re through for the day?”

That is funny.

There is a point in this movie where Kevin James’ character, the afore mentioned Paul Blart, runs into the back of a display van with his Segway PT (because fat people would rather ride than walk) while ogling the movie’s love interest (Glee’s delightful Jayma Hays).  This is not so funny, the first time.  Nor is it funny the multiple times they bring it up afterwards.

The movie is rife with moments like this, that serve to tell us:

a) Paul Blart is fat.

b) Paul Blart is lonely.

c) Paul Blart is desperate.

d) Paul Blart lives with his Mom and his daughter, whom he got from a woman in need of a green card who summarily dumped him once she got her papers.

e) Paul Blart has issues with food and a disease (hypoglycemia) that renders it necessary to keep eating high calorie foods.

Great.  Sounds like a hoot.

Despite all of this, the movie is watchable fare, for a rainy Sunday.  Paul’s daughter is well played by Rani Rodriguez.  Although she too is a stout little girl,  she is fortunately not similarly subjected to unfunny fat girl jokes.

I can see James’ heart is in a good place, as he and co-writer Nick Bakay never let his protagonist fall into the ultimate pit of despair.  He just keeps trying, showing up, day after day.

The plot, other than this, is threadbare stuff about a band of skateboarders who plot to take over the whole mall to rob the bank inside of it.  Logic need not apply here.  The plot is only there to embarrass Blart at first, and allow him redemption later.

Why is this kind of uninspired comedy enough to draw in nearly $183 million worldwide?  I think it might be that the word “Mall” was in it.  I am not too sure.  Eddie Murphy has shown you can make movies that make fat people somewhat genuine (The Nutty Professor Series) and succeed and then you can make movies that portray fat people as abominations (Norbit) and after one weekend, word of mouth will lead it into the tank.

To that end, I was going to say that one plus to this movie was there were no fart jokes.  Looking back on it though, I think they may have put one in there, or maybe two.  I just don’t care enough to go back and look.  Maybe if I had a Segway PT to watch it on…

Rating ** out of *****

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