Who's In It: Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays, Shirley Knight, Raini Rodriguez, Bobby Cannavale
Who's In It: Paul Blart, a Pixie Stick-chugging mall security guard (he's hypoglycemic, always a hilarious disorder) is widely regarded as a pathetic loser. He loves the pretty girl who works at the "Un-Be-Weave-Able" hair-extension kiosk but can't seem to do much more than fall down drunk in her presence. And then it all turns into Die Hard when some parkour-ing criminals take over the mall and try to rob the entire place. Time to be a hero and crush them all with fatness!
What's The Deal: Thanks to its PG rating, this may be the most tasteful movie to come out of Adam Sandler's production empire (and no, he's not in it), even more so than Sandler's own kid-centric Bedtime Stories. Thing is, they don't know how to be family-friendly and funny at the same time. It's the kind of inoffensive product that keeps you half-laughing to yourself for 90 minutes but you won't remember any of it after you leave. Even so, it's not the worst thing in the world to watch Kevin James bounce around, crash into things, leap through the air and subdue bumbling crooks.
What The Women Are Given to Do, In Order of Usefulness: You'd think his leading lady would be the most compelling presence, but Jayma Mays' job here is to react cluelessly and occasionally look concerned that bank robbers might kill her. It's kind of weird, actually. Meanwhile, veteran character actress Shirley Knight gets to wear funny sweaters and overfeed James. The most active woman in the film turns out to be Raini Rodriguez as James' assertive daughter. But again, it's like the PG rating thing. There's a learning curve involved with allowing the ladies to be as funny as the guys, I guess.
Who Should See It and How: When it comes to DVD, you Netflix it and watch it with your kids. It doesn't deserve a 10 buck ticket. But if you can't wait that long and you're like some maniacal King of Queens fan, then obviously this advice doesn't apply to you.
Feel Sorry For the Film Critic: It's movies like this that cause me the biggest headaches. Neither good enough to to really cheer for nor bad enough to really care about trashing it, it exists in that room-temperature middle where nothing feels like it matters. If you stay there long enough you start to wonder what the point of life is. And then you go watch some bummer of a Fassbinder movie.