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'Paul Blart 2': This Review Is Going Full Godwin

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Film | April 17, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Film | April 17, 2015 |

Paul Blart 2 is a complete failure of a movie. But then you all knew that would be the case, and you’re just here to read my kicking of the corpse anyway.

It has no redeeming qualities of any kind. It barely clocks 80 minutes by the most generous of rounding errors around the previews ending and the credits rolling. Nothing really happens in the movie. Nominally at least Blart goes to Vegas and stumbles upon a heist and stops it. It takes 45 minutes of that run time before the heist starts.

Forty. Five. Minutes.

There are movies that benefit from a slow burn that lets you marinate in the characters before the real action starts. Happy Madison Productions do not fit in that category. For over half the movie the audience is subjected to scene after scene that is apparently supposed to be funny despite containing not a single joke, bit of wit, or really anything that could objectively be classified as “humor” by any stretch.

You know Saturday Night Live sketches that have one joke and yet go on for ten minutes anyway and make you want to die? This is that stretched to almost an hour and a half. This is not the mundane lousy comedy that has one joke and beats it into the ground. At least those have a single joke to beat into the ground in the first place. Every scene feels like the overly stretched painful part of every bad SNL sketch, without even having an initial joke it’s trying to hang the humor on.

Every single person involved in this production should feel at least some shame for having contributed to the creation of this desolation of any purpose. Yes, actors, director, producers all the way down to catering and whatever the hell a key grip actually is. I know, I know, normal honest people just collecting a paycheck, and following orders. Well following orders was established as not being a defense for evil at Nuremberg, so dammit it’s not a defense for producing this sort of shit either. That’s right, this review is going full Godwin.

Kevin James, please, if you are reading this, realize that you do not have the slightest talent for physical comedy. Your entire oeuvre revolves around the presumption that it is funny that you are fat and fall down. If you think that you are following in the footsteps of great comedians who used their bulk as a prop in physical comedy, then you are horribly mistaken. A fat guy falling down is not funny in and of itself. There is context and nuance and a mountain of physical talent involved in that genre of humor. You have demonstrated none of that, but like the shallow mind that thinks that Moby Dick is about a whale, you persist in thinking physical comedy is about being fat and falling down. It’s not.

I will say though, that this visit to the theater was one of complete and utter triumph. Because a new theater opened in my town. It has a full restaurant and bar and you can eat and drink in your reclining seat. The average movie in this town has about six people on opening night, so I have not a clue what entrepreneurial genius thought that opening a new top of the line cinema would be a route to economic success. But it’s my gain.

The best five minutes of this movie came halfway through when I went back out to the lobby and bought two more beers. You have tried Dustin, tried for years to break my spirit on these hate crimes against cinema. But it is only fitting that Paul Blart is the herald of a new stage of this war. You may take my liver, but you will never take my spirit.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.