Review: ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,’ starring Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, and Neal McDonough

People laughing at fat men isn’t new, but it’s never felt as old as in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Kevin James is fat! Kevin James can barely move! Kevin James does somersaults even when he doesn’t really mean to! Kevin James eats everything in sight! Kevin James falls over things! It goes on and on, with no respite, for what seems like forever but is somehow only 94 minutes. When people talk about waking nightmares, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is what they’re talking about.

Set six years after its predecessor, this sequel that nobody wanted catches up with Blart after things aren’t going so well in his life: his wife has left him (because actress Jayma Mays couldn’t get out of her Glee filming schedule), his mother has been run over by a milk truck (because this movie hates women), and his job at the West Orange Pavilion Mall just doesn’t seem so fulfilling anymore. And, he’s also in the dark about his daughter Maya’s (Raini Rodriguez) acceptance into UCLA, which she’s afraid to tell him about because he’s such a needy desperate loner that she’s not sure she can leave him alone.

But then Blart learns that he’s been invited, expenses paid, to a security officers’ conference in Las Vegas, so it’s vacation time for him and Maya. No matter that when they get to Las Vegas, Blart keeps hit getting by cars because of his terrible Segway driving, or that he starts essentially spying on Maya when she strikes up a friendship with a handsome hotel employee, or that he gets attacked by a peacock and kicked by a horse … because he also finds out that some criminals are planning to rob the hotel and the casino, and so with his glue gun and his Taser and his inflated sense of self, Blart decides to foil the heist.

You can pretty much guess where this is going. Neal McDonough, so wonderfully deranged in things like FX’s underappreciated Justified, is given short shrift here; there’s a scene where he and James are clearly improv-ing with each other to prove whose character is more crazy, but their comedic rhythms are off. James seems fine with being a gluttonous hack, but that doesn’t mean his character is the Everyman the movie is trying to sell him as; he’s still just a pumped-up weirdo. And there’s one scene where one of Blart’s drunk, disorderly friends comes on to a woman to a gross degree, but it eventually ends with the woman apologizing for overreacting, because how dare we not accept any random guy’s overtures at a bar even if we’re completely disinterested? How disgustingly feminist of us.

No one wanted Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and maybe James and Co. knew that, since this is such a passionless, unfunny slog through the most pathetic iterations of “laugh at the fat man” comedy. But if there’s a Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3, then I think it’s safe for us to burn Hollywood to the ground.

Rating: 0 out of 5 Guttenbergs