Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Comedy filmmakers have long paired a profession with a funny name and let the jokes write themselves, but only since Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy have they felt the need to include both components in the movie's title. Paul Blart: Mall Cop's titular loser is played by sitcom star Kevin James, and for its first half the picture relies on the delusional security guard's power trips for laughs. But behind the silly mustache and the Segway he wheels around the shopping center on, James is constitutionally incapable of coming across unlikeable, so Blart's inevitable transformation from underdog to hero, as he attempts to foil a robbery of the mall, feels more plausible than it should be. And as James throws his rotund frame into action, Mall Cop transitions from mundane patrolling to explosive cop movie clichés almost as entertainingly as Hot Fuzz. The charming supporting cast includes the adorably doe-eyed Jayma Mays as the implausible love interest, and Keir O'Donnell in a standout performance as he transforms from Blart's green new partner to a criminal mastermind. But all the while it's James that carries the movie on his beefy shoulders, through its weaker gags and more pointless plot twists, to make Mall Cop one of the more tolerable lowbrow laughers in recent memory.