Story

Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a likable security guard at the West Orange Pavilion Mall. He patrols the mall on his Segway scooter, assisting and directing shoppers. He has worked in the mall for 10 years after failing to get into the police force because of his hypoglycaemia. Paul is a single parent, who lives at home with his mother (Shirley Knight) and daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez).

While patrolling the mall, Paul is attracted to the owner of a small kiosk, a young woman named Amy (Jayma Mays). Their first date turns into a disaster when Paul, unaccustomed to alcohol, becomes drunk. From then on, he is determined to get back into Amy’s good books.

A new trainee security guard, Veck Sims (Keir O’Donnell), arrives. Paul takes Veck under his wing, not realising that he is really a criminal. Armed criminals led by Veck rob the mall and take Amy and Maya hostage. This gives Paul a chance to prove his real worth.

Themes

Crime; hostage-taking

Violence

Many of the frequent violent acts and examples of accidental harm depicted in this film are slapstick. There are occasions when the violence takes on a more intimidating and harmful nature. There is also some behaviour that might be imitated by children. Examples of violence include the following:

  • While riding his scooter, Paul is chased by a small yapping dog that snaps at the tyres. We hear the sound of the scooter’s wheels running over something and hear the dog yelping in pain. We don’t find out whether the dog is killed or injured, and Paul does not seem upset by the event.
  • Children playing in a pit filled with small balls throw some of them at Paul, hitting him in the head. Paul is uninjured.
  • Paul intervenes in an argument between two female shoppers and is attacked by one of the women. She punches Paul in the face, stomach and body, head-butts him and bites him on the neck. When we see Paul later, he has a bloody nose and face and torn clothing.
  • After accidentally becoming drunk, Paul assaults a man sitting on a barstool. He behaves rudely towards other people in the bar. For example, he crawls across table tops, pushes people out of his way, dances wildly and pushes a man off a stage. He then overbalances backwards and crashes through a glass window.
  • Two men kick a bucket out from underneath a security officer, causing the man to fall on the ground.
  • Several robbers terrorise mall shoppers when they ride BMX bikes and skateboards recklessly though the crowded mall, while waving guns in the air. We see people screaming and running out of the mall.
  • Dozens of armed police officers point their guns at the mall’s entrance.
  • A robber points a shotgun at Paul, who escapes on his scooter followed by a couple of robbers. Paul crawls into an air-conditioning duct, but is discovered when a robber repeatedly spears the duct with a sharp metal rod, narrowly missing Paul. Paul falls through the duct and lands on top of his attackers, knocking one of them (a woman) unconscious. Paul binds her hands and feet and then lifts her up onto his shoulder. He accidentally knocks the woman’s head on a door frame, then drops her heavily on the ground.
  • The commander of the SWAT force says that he abused Paul at high school by setting him on fire at a pancake stall.
  • While struggling with a robber, Paul pushes him into a sun-tanning bed and repeatedly slams the lid down until the man is knocked unconscious.
  • A mall robber fires his gun at Paul, but misses him. The robber chases Paul on his skateboard and repeatedly hits Paul on the side of his body with a baton. Paul escapes into an elevator as a robber crashes through the elevator’s glass window and punches him in the body and face. A second robber jumps onto the elevator, but Paul pushes him off. The first robber threatens to kill Amy and runs off with Paul in hot pursuit. Paul catches the robber, and they crash through a glass roof and fall into a pit of rubber balls with Paul’s scooter falling down too. Paul appears uninjured while the robber has cuts over his face. Paul grabs the robber and head-butts him, knocking him unconscious.
  • In a bid to get Amy a birthday card, Paul tries to smash the glass door of a mall shop by jumping through it. When he hurls himself at the glass, the glass holds firm, and he bounces off and falls to the ground. Paul appears uninjured. Later in the movie, he tries the same thing using his scooter. This time he succeeds in shattering the glass but tumbles head first over the scooter’s handlebars.
  • Paul knocks a valve off the top of a gas cylinder, causing the cylinder to fly across the room at great speed. It hits a robber in the stomach, knocking him unconscious.
  • Paul places a device with a naked flame next to an open gas outlet, causing a building to explode.
  • Paul uses a hockey stick to knock a robber's feet out from underneath him. We then hear the sounds of punches as the man is knocked unconscious.
  • We see what appears to be Paul on his scooter with a robber shooting him several times in the body. It turns out to be a store dummy on the scooter, not Paul.
  • Paul flicks hot chilli sauce into Veck’s eye. Veck covers his eye and shouts out in pain but recovers quickly with no lasting effects.
  • Veck manhandles Amy and Maya, forcing them from a bank and driving away with them as hostages.
  • Paul challenges Veck to a fight, and both raise their fists. Paul collapses as though unconscious. He is faking and takes Veck by surprise by knocking Veck’s feet out from underneath him. Paul then pins Veck down and handcuffs him.
  • A SWAT officer points his gun at Paul and tells Paul that he is going to shoot and kill Paul, Amy, Maya and Veck. The gun is shot out of the SWAT officer’s hand by an elderly security officer.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, there are life-size models of a caveman and jungle animals in a coffee shop.

From 5-8

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes and scary visual images mentioned above. They could be particularly concerned when Paul runs over the dog.

From 8-13

Apart from the violent scenes mentioned above, there is nothing else in this film likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie. For example:

  • When Paul approaches Amy (who runs a hair extension shop), he asks her, ‘Do you do men?’ Realising what he has just said, he changes his question to, ‘Do you do hair on men?’
  • Two women argue over a bra in a shop. One of the women says that she has to have the bra because she has a date that night. The second woman comments, ‘Is he blind?’
  • While drunk, Paul says, ‘Time to pluck the grape from the vine’ in relation to Amy.
  • Paul tells Amy that it was weird the previous night (when he was drunk). He asks if he tried to make out with her purse.
  • Paul is given a bottle of hot chilli source with the label ‘The Devil’s Crotch’.
  • A man says a woman is ‘into leather’.
  • Paul gives Amy a birthday card that tells her how he feels about her. The last line says, ‘You make me feel stuffed’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie. For example:

  • People consume mixed drinks in a bar, but no one appears intoxicated.
  • Paul states several times throughout the film that he does not drink alcohol. But while at a bar, he mistakenly consumes a pitcher of Margarita and becomes highly intoxicated. Paul loses all inhibitions and gets out of control, embarrassing himself in front of Amy. He harasses several people, crawls across table tops, drinks other people’s drinks, knocks a man off a stage, and finally overbalances and falls through a glass window. His actions jeopardise his chances of forming a relationship with Amy. Later in the film, it is revealed that he has a large tattoo of an eagle covering his entire back, a result of his drunken escapade.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:

  • Paul rides his Segway scooter rather suggestively. He looks a bit like a pole-dancer, thrusting and pumping.
  • Paul uses security cameras to watch Amy working at her store.
  • During Paul’s struggle with a shopper, the back of the woman’s shirt is pulled up to reveal her back and bra strap.
  • Women wear revealing clothing.

Product placement

There is some product placement in this movie, including:

  • Segway scooters
  • mobile phones
  • computers
  • internet dating services
  • food products including nachos, peanut butter, hot chilli sauce and apple pie.

In addition, when Paul tries to fight off the mall robbers, he uses several products from various shops. These products range from a scuba diving tank to a remote control toy robot. Many of the products would appeal to children.

Coarse language

This movie contains some occasional mild coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a slapstick comedy that is likely to appeal to children over 10 and adolescents who will be able to identify with the film’s underdog hero. Adults looking for a light-hearted laugh are also likely to enjoy and be entertained by this film.

The main message from this movie is that true courage and heroic action come from a stout heart and a clever mind, rather than a handsome appearance and a body full of muscles.

Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include courage, selflessness, forgiveness, compassion and the ability to see the best in people.

You might also wish to discuss the real-life consequences of:

  • drinking alcohol
  • some of the scooter, bike and skateboard stunts in the film
  • hypoglycaemia (as suffered by Paul).