I’m not proud of the fact that I watched Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) on TV yesterday… or the fact that I laughed numerous times… or the fact that I thought Kevin James actually looked kinda cool gliding around on his Segway… but those are the facts, all the same. Essentially, this movie is a slapsticky Die Hard spoof, crossed with a workplace rom-com and a Tony Hawks video game… which all adds up to a fairly inoffensive, mildly amusing time-waster. Apparently it brought in $183,293,131 at the box office though (on a budget of $26 million), which is pretty serious money!
The main draw for me was Jayma Mays, who plays ‘Amy Anderson’ the newbie owner of a wigs-and-weaves kiosk in the mall (named “Unbeweavable”), who becomes Paul’s crush-at-first-sight, and eventual damsel-in-distress. I’m not sure how much of a concession the film-makers got from Segway Inc., but the scene where Paul and Amy ride through the mall together was surprisingly sexy product placement!* The first time we meet Amy, she’s wearing a cheap blonde wig, and I was worried that they were going to stick with that look for the whole movie… but thankfully, as soon as her working day ended, she went back to the redder/“strawberry blonde” look we’re more familiar with, and stayed that way ‘till the end credits rolled. Phew!
The second stand-out female character for me was ‘Vixen’, one of the sporty, reindeer-themed robbers who invade the mall, and hold the staff hostage. Although Natascha Hopkins hasn’t had many prominent speaking roles as an actress, she’s been working as a stunt performer since 2004, contributing to such diverse productions as That’s So Raven, Smokin’ Aces, The House Bunny, Scandal, and True Blood!
Fun fact: The screenplay was co-written by Nick Bakay, who used to provide the voice for ‘Salem’ the snarky cat in Sabrina the Teenage Witch (and Sabrina: The Animated Series)… but he’s also a veteran sitcom writer/producer, who most recently worked on the first season of Mom (either plotting or scripting 18 of the 22 episodes!)
* According to Wikipedia, here in the UK “it is unlawful to use a Segway anywhere other than on private property with the owner’s permission”… so no sexy fun times for me. :(