While every survey hasn't been completed and conclusive proof has yet to be published, it seems that those who don't have a very big and very soft spot for former 'King of Queens' star Kevin James could fit in the back of a rickshaw. From the guy eating cold custard in front of the telly at 11am because he's too lazy to get up and go to the microwave (hello, my name is Harry) to the girl who won't consider less than George Clooney as marriage material (insert name here___________), James elicits masses of 'ah's and aw's'. And that charm radiates once again off the screen in 'Mall Cop', not the longest or funniest comedy ever made, but saved by James' timing with a line and gift for physical comedy.
He plays Paul Blart, the super-professional, Segway-riding security guard at the West Orange Pavillion Mall in New Jersey. Missing out on his dream job as a state trooper because his hypoglycaemia acted up and he fell asleep at the finish line of the assault course, Blart is one of life's lovable misfits who deserves better but can't really convince himself that he's capable of it. But when his beloved workplace is taken over by armed robbers after closing, Blart has the chance to save the day and prove the cynics - and himself - wrong. Now, can he just stay awake?
With 'Mall Cop' having taken over $120m in the US, James' TV days are now well behind him and it'll be interesting to look back at this as part of a learning curve when he really finds the magic onscreen. Co-written by James, it's aimed squarely at kids (there's plenty to keep them quiet), and while there are plenty of missed opportunities (greater comic potential in the supporting characters, a rushed ending), you'd want to be competing for the world record for longest streak of misery not to have a few laughs along the way.
There's better to come from James; until then, this won't ruin anyone's day.