Paul Blart: Zoo Cop

As a special treat from my buddies at the Internet Movie Database (IMBD, as you may know it), I was given a sneak peek at the new movie Paul Blart: Zoo Cop this past weekend!  I took a break from the firecrackers and cooked wieners that so often dot my Fourth of July holiday to strap on my movie watching boots (size 10 Skechers Shape It-Ups) and do a little film scouting, just so you readers know how much I care.

Reprising his epic role as the title character in the visionary film Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the Documentary, the lovably overweight Paul Blart plays himself in this new feature.  Including heavyweights such as Adam Sandlot (Billy Madison’s Golf Academy) and Sylvester Stallion (Rambunctious) as voices of animals and A-listers Rosalita Dawson (Se7en Lbs) and Leslie Bobb (Titanic) as the objects of Blart’s love, it definitely doesn’t disappoint when it comes to star power.  Billed as a film for the whole family, I was a bit shocked at some of the content displayed in the more aggressive scenes.

As the film opens, Blart is introduced as a zoo cop.  Called by the animals he cares for as “the best they’ve ever had,” he no doubt drew on his experience as a mall policeman to prepare for the part, and this veteran touch impresses throughout the film.  However, Blart soon becomes restless and decides to seek other employment; at a foreign automaker dealership.  While his credentials and personal skills allow him to easily obtain a prestigious position at said dealer, the animals in the zoo are unwilling to let his services out of their reach.  They attack Blart and state in no uncertain terms that they don’t approve.  The monkey (Sandlot) shouts that Blart is “betraying his country and the animals’ love.”

At one point during the film, they succeed in subduing Blart, and in a shocking scene of primal magnetism, proceed to have their way with him.  This is one instance in which the ratings committee overlooked what clearly only belongs in an R-rated film.  I didn’t appreciate the rating, but the scene itself was riveting.  The animals tell Blart that the only way they’ll allow him to walk out alive is if he cheats on his wife (Bobb) with Kate (Dawson), and stipulate that he must take them once a week to TGI Friday’s.  When Blart asks how he’s possibly expected to sneak a zoo full of animals into a family restaurant, the lion (Stallion) states, “I don’t give a ****, we just want our Friday’s,” which again brings the PG rating into question.  They threaten to kill his wife.  In an impassioned plea, Blart cries, “I’ve gotta get out of this zoo.”

As a skilled man with much experience (see Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the Documentary), Blart is able to escape the horrors of the zoo with only a few scratches and a significantly damaged psyche.  He begins his job at the automaker dealership, wowing everyone there with his innovative sales techniques and overall positive attitude.  This new life takes a turn for the worst when the animals follow through on their threat and kidnap Blart’s stunningly pretty wife.  Enraged, Blart steals into the zoo and takes on each animal one-on-one.  After dispatching of many smaller animal charges, he comes face-to-face with the lion, who declares that he is holding Mrs. Blart captive until Paul returns to his previous duties as zoo cop, a job which the lion believes only can be left “when one dies.”

The fight begins.  After an epic 15-minute battle, the lion (a bad seed from the beginning) uses dirty animal tricks to dispose of Blart.  Our hero succumbs to the lion, who then consumes him in a sacrifice only comparable to the worst of the ancient heathens.  This movie is NOT for the eyes of children, and should only be viewed by adults that can stomach significant violence.

Things I Liked:

1. The Blart Factor.  This is easy; the man’s an American hero.  Many police officers look up to Blart.  Upon the capture of a ring of criminals, a policeman was rumored to have shouted “I JUST BLARTED,” which although slightly crass is an amazing testament to the man who has touched so many lives.

2.  Animal involvement.  I love animals, and this film’s got a lot of ‘em.  I like to think of animals as talking to me with their eyes and their expressions, but in this they actually could talk!  Great twist, best animal movie since Dr. Little with Eddie Murphy.  What a flick.

3.  TGI Friday’s.  Can’t go wrong here, it’s just an All-American restaurant with All-American fun!  I’ve done some research on the weekends and have concluded that TGI’s (nickname for it that I use, it’s shorter) is the best place to meet local singles.  Doubtless this is why the gorilla wanted to go there on a weekly basis, the scoundrel!

Not so Great About Paul Blart: Zoo Cop:

1.  Paul Blart shaved his ‘stache.  Really shocking in my opinion.  If this movie does well, it would have done twice as well had Blart not cleaned his face.

2.  Animal violence.  While I like a good duke ‘em out, fists flyin’ movie just like the rest of you guys, this one really did have some questionable family values.  When I go to see a PG movie, I like cute animals and animated toys setting out on adventures to Toy Barns and stuff like that, not animal cruelty and the encouragement of adultery.  That’s just wrong for this kind of film.

3.  The death of Blart.  While I admire the twist that the writers threw in with the destruction of Paul Blart, I also hate it.  Without Blart, there can be no Blart trilogy and thus no box set for me to purchase and enjoy whenever I want!  Unless, of course, the third is Paul Blart: Resurrected, which I think would be cool, even though it is sacrilegious.  I think the pope would look the other way though, I mean Paul’s a great character.

Overall, I give this movie a 8/10 on entertainment and a 2/10 for the ability to live up to its billing as family-friendly.  Trading in his Segway and quarter roll for a safety helmet and tranquilizer gun, Blart shines in a role that was clearly designed with his physical prowess and cool temperament in mind.  However, while the name Paul Blart will draw many a fan to the theater, the antics of the animals will keep them there in this action-packed horror/thriller.


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