Mall Cop

This is a silly, audience-pleasing way to waste a couple of hours. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" (the actual name of this little frolic) has no socially redeeming value, but I wasn't bored.

This movies starts as our eponymous hero, played by Kevin James ("Hitch" and 206 episodes of TV's "The King of Queens") successfully negotiates a police training obstacle course, only to fail within a few yards of his goal because his hypoglycemia kicks in. You next see him stuffing his disappointment with a big meal provided by his sympathetic mother and his early teenaged daughter played by Raini Rodriguez (her mother was an illegal who married our hero simply to get her green card, then split).

Both his mother and his daughter want him to start dating again, but he has serious reservations. He's self-conscious about his weight and he wants to try again for the policeman's job, even though he DOES enjoy being a mall cop.

A new hair accessories kiosk opens at the mall. It is run by Jayma Mays ("Bar Starz" and LOTS of TV work) who acts as though someone told her that a wide-eyed look was attractive. In my opinion, her acting range is limited to various bunny-in-the-headlights impressions.

The movie gets interesting when terrorists take over the shopping mall. Our hero was distracted and missed the announcement to evacuate, so he becomes the "inside man" for the city police force...the very ones he has been trying to join! The terrorists are wonderful to watch: They seem to be "parcour-trained" and their athleticism is astounding! ("Parcour" was the sport featured in the amazing opening sequence of last year's "Casino Royale." It consists of almost-suicidal leaps from rooftops and other promontories. In a shopping mall those would be escalators, balconies or kiosks.) On the other hand, when James tries to do a heroic run combined with a slide into hiding, he comes short and has to skooch over to shelter.

He and his Segway make great comic hay with his shortcomings and clever maneuvering. By setting this movie in a shopping mall, product placement is so obvious it becomes part of the plot. Zale's Jewelry, Sharper Image, Victoria's Secret, the list goes on and on.

There are many laugh-out-loud moments but when you get home you won't remember them.