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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Reviews

Forget the whole “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” spiel; Officer Blart should have done us all a solid and stayed in Jersey with his Segway. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, directed by Andy Fickman and co-written by Nick Bakay and Kevin James (also reprising his starring role as Blart), is a disappointing sequel to an only slightly more endearing original. When last we encountered mall security guard Blart, he had successfully thwarted a bumbling gang of thieves and improbably captured the heart of a beautiful flame-haired kiosk queen. Best of all, he received a job offer from the same New Jersey State Police Department that had previously turned him down due to his habit of fainting from low blood sugar. Curiously, he declined the offer, opting to continue protecting the patrons of the West Orange Pavilion Mall. However, six long years have now passed and his heroic episode is long forgotten. The redhead filed for divorce (a mere six days after the I-dos) and his mother was flattened by a milk truck. But things start to look up when he receives an invitation to a convention of security officers in Las Vegas and he invites his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) to accompany him. Maya has been accepted to UCLA but she keeps the news from her down-and-out father, fearful that he will think she’s abandoning him. Once in Vegas, they encounter the requisite band of thieves (this time it is art they’re after) and Blart must prevent them from making off with priceless artifacts (and also with Maya) using his zany brand of vigilante justice. The rest is pretty much just a repeat of Paul Blart: Mall Cop except with brighter lights, craps tables, and complimentary root beer from the casino’s cocktail waitresses. Kevin James was a TV powerhouse in the early 2000s with his hit show, The King of Queens. The unhurried pace of that sitcom allowed his vast talent for jocular one-liners and graceless physical comedy to be properly absorbed and enjoyed. But translated onto the large screen, those one-liners go whizzing by past the point that you wish you had a rewind button; and his pratfalls start to become annoying in their frequency and exaggeration. Fortunately, James doesn’t keep all the jokes to himself; he often places his stand-up comedian friends in roles that will allow them to shine. Gary Valentine is funny as bald security guard and organizer of the convention, Saul Gundermutt. And Mall of America officer Donna Ericone (Loni Love) is hilarious with her deadpan reactions to the criminals, not even flinching when one attempts to wallop her with a powerful martial-arts kick to the gut. Like many sequels, once the novelty of whatever made the original, original, wears off you start to behave like a kid who has figured out there is no Santa Claus but who goes along with the ruse because everybody still wants him to believe. In the case of this superfluous sequel, an overly proud yet bumbling mall security guard scooting around on a Seqway was amusing and unconventional the first time; now, going along for the ride just feels tedious.