In terms of comedies that came out in 2009, this one isn't that bad, and I don't really understand all the critical hate. I can definitely see where it went wrong, because the first half of the film really sucked. However, the mistakes of the first half are compensated for in the second half, which was pretty cool. Kevin James is also a likeable comedian, even if he didn't have much juicy material to work with, and the villain is easily the best character in the movie.
Most of the jokes are pretty hit-and-miss, but the ones that hit were definitely funny. Again, the jokes mostly fall flat in the first half but they get funnier as the second half builds up. If you don't know, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is about...you guessed it....Paul Blart. He's not an underdog, he's a complete loser, and the brunt of the jokes regarding his character are the fact that he's fat and he has hypoglycemia. I never really found those jokes to be funny as a kid and they're especially not funny now. Haha, we get it, he's fat, it's NOT FUNNY. Anyway, he works at a mall that is overrun by criminals during one evening and he has to save the mall despite everyone thinking that he can't do it.
I am pretty sure that this was meant to be a parody of movies like Die Hard, and for that, it definitely works. I haven't seen any Die Hard films, but I know what they are and what they're about, and it definitely seemed like a viable idea. For the most part, it works too, but it only picks up in the second half. Kevin James does a good job, but his leading lady (played by Jayma Mays) didn't really do that great a job. I mean, I like her on Glee, but she's definitely a better tv actress than she is a movie actress.
Out of all the characters in the movie, my favourite is definitely the villain, Veck (played by Keir O'Donnell). He's by far the smartest character in the movie, and I actually found myself rooting for him in the second half just because he was so awesome. Definitely a better character than Blart, I just liked him. The other supporting characters were okay, like Blart's daughter Maya (played by Raini Rodriguez) and the corrupt SWAT captain (played by someone who's in a lot of movies but unfortunately I can never remember his name).
All in all, it's definitely a decent film. Not the worst film, but definitely not the best. For all the mistakes that are made during the first half, they are compensated for and then some in the second half. It definitely could have worked better, but for the most part, the second half is pretty good and works as a die hard parody. If you haven't seen it, definitely worth a rental.