xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Think of the worst movie you’ve ever seen – a movie that didn’t make you laugh, didn’t make you cry, didn’t move you or change you in any way besides giving you the desperate urge to flee the theater. Think of a movie that was a massive waste of your time and money. Hold that title in your mind.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is worse than that.
This may sound like hyperbole or piling on. As of this writing, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” is at zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes. (Mind you, Sony didn’t screen it for critics before opening day, which is never a show of confidence, so the reviews are still trickling in.) But truly, there is not a single redeeming moment in director Andy Fickman’s film. A general flatness and lethargy permeates these reheated proceedings. The jokes never land. The slapstick seems strained. The characters are one-dimensional. And the vague attempts at heart at the end don’t feel earned.
This is essentially the same movie as the inexplicably successful original “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” which made over $183 million worldwide in 2009. Only this time, Kevin James is even more unlikable as the title character. It seemed impossible when the first film came out that this endearing everyman could play a character that stripped him of all his best on-screen qualities. Back then, Paul Blart was just needy, clueless and annoying, as he smugly patrolled a New Jersey mall on his Segway. In the sequel, he’s all of those things but he’s also bitter, rude and condescending, which makes him even more repulsive.