Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Genre Character of the Week: Paul Blart

One of the fun perks about being a parent is getting to show your kids the books, movies and TV shows you loved growing up. Over the years I've shown my kids the classic Star Trek series, the classic Universal Monster Movies (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man) and lots more. The only problem arrives when you have a favourite film that is not for kids. For me, that movie is Die Hard, which is probably one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time - Unfortunately, as my youngest kid is 12 I can't show her that movie yet. Luckily there is a solution, a little film called Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Paul is a pretty straightforward character; a single dad living with his daughter and his mother. Paul comes across as a mild mannered guy who hopes to one day become a State Trooper -but as that hasn't panned out for him yet, he is a security guard at his local mall. Past that, he doesn't handle alcohol well and has a crush on a local sales girl, Amy.

What I love about Paul as a character is simple, when the mall is taken over by clever thieves, he finds a way to fight back. Rather than being a tough-as-nails cop like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, Paul is an overweight teddy bear of a man, with little to no training as far as things go, who puts it all on the line to defend his mall. What I love best about him however, is the fact that while gathering weapons to defend the mall, he stops at a gift card shop.
Kevin James (pictured above) is really good in this role, you spend the film feeling alternately sorry and hopeful for the character, and considering it will be a few more years before I can show my 12-year-old Die Hard, this is a wonderful family friendly version I can show her now.

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