Australian Council on Children and the Media

Paul Blart - Mall Cop

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Not recommended under 10, PG to 13 due to frequent violence, coarse language and scenes of alcohol abuse

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Paul Blart - Mall Cop
  • a review of Paul Blart - Mall Cop completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 March 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to frequent violence, coarse language and scenes of alcohol abuse.
Children aged 10-13 Parental guidance recommended due to frequent violence, coarse language and scenes of alcohol abuse.
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Paul Blart - Mall Cop
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence and coarse language
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a likable security guard at the West Orange Pavilion Mall who 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 passes a little kiosk in the middle of the mall and is immediately attracted to the owner, 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 her good books.
A new trainee security guard, Veck Sims (Keir O’Donnell) arrives, and Paul takes the new man under his wing, not realising that he is really a criminal. When Amy and Maya are taken hostage by armed criminals, led by Veck, who are robbing the mall, Paul is given a chance to prove his real worth.  

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Crime; hostage taking

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

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

  • While riding his scooter, Paul is chased by a small yapping dog that snaps at the tires. We hear the sound of the scooter’s wheels running over something and hear the dog yelping in pain. It is not revealed whether or not the dog was 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 later see Paul he is sporting a bloody nose and face and torn clothing.
  • After accidentally becoming drunk, Paul assaults a man sitting on a barstool. He behaves in a rude and offensive manner towards other bargoers, crawling across table tops, pushing men and woman out of his way, dancing wildly on the dance floor and pushing a man off a stage. Paul then overbalances backwards and crashes through a glass window.
  • Two men kick a bucket out from underneath a security officer who is sitting on the bucket, causing the man to fall on the ground.  
  • Several robbers terrorise mall shoppers when they ride BMX bikes and skateboards in a reckless manner 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 and Paul escapes on his scooter followed by a couple of robbers. Paul crawls into an air conditioning duct, but is discovered with one of his attackers repeatedly spearing the duct with sharp metal rod, narrowly missing Paul. Paul falls through the duct and lands on top of his attackers knocking one of the attackers (a woman) unconscious. Paul binds her hands and feet and then lifts her up onto his shoulder, accidentally knocking 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 mall 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 missing 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 with a mall robber crashing through the elevator’s glass window and punching Paul in the body and face. A second robber jumps onto the elevator, but is pushed off by Paul. The first robber threatens to kill Amy and runs off with Paul in hot pursuit. Paul catches up to the robber and the pair go crashing through a glass roof to fall into a pit of rubber balls below with Paul’s scooter following the pair down. 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 mall shop by jumping through it, but when he hurls himself at the glass, the glass holds firm and Paul bounces off falling to the ground; Paul appears uninjured. Latter Paul tries the same thing this time using his scooter to ram the glass and succeeds with the glass shattering as Paul crashes through and tumbles head first over the handlebars.
  • Paul knocks a valve off the top of a gas cylinder, causing the cylinder to be propelled at great speed across the room and hit a robber in the stomach knocking him unconscious.
  • Paul placing a device that has a naked flame next to an open gas outlet, causing a building to explode.
  • Paul uses a hockey stick to knock the feet from beneath an unsuspecting mall robber, we then hear the sounds of punches as the man is knocked unconscious.
  • We see what appears to be Paul on his scooter and a robber shooting him several times in the body. However it was a store dummy that was 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 the bank and driving away with them as hostages.
  • Paul challenges Veck to a fight with both raising their fists as if about to box each other. Paul collapses as though unconscious, but 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 with the SWAT officer telling 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.                                      

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • life size models of a caveman and jungle animals in a café 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images and be particularly concerned when Paul runs over the dog

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Apart from the above mentioned violent scenes, it is unlikely that there is other content in this movie that is likely to scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

There is some product placement in this movie, including:

  • Segway scooters
  • In a bid to fight off the mall robbers, Paul uses a number of products taken from a variety of shops ranging from a scuba diving tank to a remote control toy robot. Many of the products would have appeal to children.
  • Mobile phones
  • Computers
  • Internet dating services
  • Some food products, including nachos, peanut butter, hot chilli sauce, apple pie.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • 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?”
  • We see two women arguing 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 with the second woman commenting “Is he blind”.
  • While drunk, Paul makes the statement “Time to pluck the grape from the vine” in relation to Amy.
  • Paul tells Amy that it was a little weird last night (when he was drunk) and he asks if he tried to make out with her purse.
  • Paul is given a bottle of hot chilli source with a label “The Devil’s Crotch”.
  • A man says a woman is “into leather”.
  • Paul gives Amy a birthday card that tells Amy how he feels about her, the last line reads, “You make me feel stuffed.”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Paul rides his Segway scooter in a somewhat suggestive manner, a little like a pole-dancer, enacting thrusting/pumping movements.
  • 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 wearing revealing clothing  

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • People consume mixed drinks in a bar setting, but no one appears intoxicated.
  • Paul states a number of times through out the film that he does not drink alcohol. However, while at a bar he mistakenly consumes a pitcher of Margarita, and as a result becomes highly intoxicated. Paul loses all inhibitions and gets out of control, he embarrasses himself in front of Amy, harasses a number of bargoers, crawls across table tops, skulls over patrons drinks,  knocks a man off of a stage and finally over balances and fall through a glass window with his actions jeopardising 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.     

Coarse language

There is some occasional mild coarse language and put downs in this movie. Examples include:

  • what a moron
  • this place sucks
  • got your arse handed to you
  • crazy arsed people
  • screwed it up
  • scum
  • bad arse
  • suck on that 

In a nutshell

Paul Blart - Mall Cop is a slapstick comedy that is likely to appeal to children over ten 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 parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • courage
  • selflessness
  • forgiveness, compassion and seeing the best in people

Parents may wish to discuss the real life consequences of

  • drinking alcohol, as shown by what happened to Paul
  • some of the scooter, bike and skateboard stunts shown
  • hypoglycaemia as suffered by Paul

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