By James Hirsen, Special for USDR
Kevin James, who is best known for his lead character role of Doug Heffernan on the hit syndicated television sitcom “The King of Queens,” has additionally appeared in a number of major film releases including “Grown Ups,” “Hitch,” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”
In real life, James is married, has four children, and is a committed Catholic believer. He has appeared on the Catholic television network EWTN and has shared some of the details of how his faith has informed his life and influenced him as a professional in the entertainment industry.
James, whose given name is Kevin George Knipfing, is actually part of an expanding group of professionals in Hollywood who are committed to the goal of creating family friendly fare for the general viewing audience.
James’s latest film “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” which is a sequel to the highly successful “Mall Cop,” has scored $22 million in its weekend debut, trailing just behind the “Furious 7” sequel.
“Mall Cop 2” has received from CinemaScore a rating of A- for audience members under 19 years of age and B- for all moviegoers and has also been given a rare rating of PG from the Motion Picture Association of America.
It is important to note that the success of the movie is particularly impressive when examined in light of the excessively brutal reviews that the mainstream film critic community has heaped upon it.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” did not receive a single positive review on the film critic aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes. Consequently, it received an unlikely rating of 0%, despite the website having posted 38 movie reviews at the time of this writing.
On another film critic aggregation site, Metacritic, the movie did marginally better, obtaining two mixed reviews and twelve negative reviews. “Mall Cop 2” received a score of 1.6, which according to the site indicates an “overwhelming dislike” for the film.
Interestingly, the film received four positive reviews out of the thirteen user written reviews. One simply wrote “This is hilarious!” Another posted, “My 9 year old wanted us to see this and I am glad we did. We laughed through the whole thing. Action packed and funny. Better than the first one. Loved it!”
Neither of the critic sites paid attention to a positive review that appeared on Ted Baer’s Movie Guide site, in which the film is characterized as “the funniest family movie in many years.”
Interestingly, the movie also features a favorite filmmaker-actor of the Christian community, Eduardo Verástegui.
In an especially harsh review of the film and in an extremely uncharitable manner, Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com penned, “Truly, there is not a single redeeming moment in director Andy Fickman’s film. A general flatness and lethargy permeates these reheated proceedings.”
According to Variety, “Mall Cop 2” is a “tacky, numbingly inane sequel.”
The sequel picks up where the first installment leaves off, moving Blart’s base of operation to Las Vegas, NV, after the character’s mother is run over by a milk truck and his wife deserts him.
The original “Mall Cop” surprised the Hollywood community when it brought in almost $32 million during its three-day debut and tallied up an amount in excess of $39 million over the four days of the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
It turns out that James himself was the driving force for making the movie. The actor co-wrote “Mall Cop 2” with Nick Bakay and co-produced the film with Todd Garner and Adam Sandler.
“We wanted to do it only if it could be bigger and better, and that’s what we did,” James explained during his red carpet appearance at the premiere of the movie. “We never planned on making one until people were asking me: ‘What’s going on with this character? When can we see him again?’”
James added, “And when my fans were asking that enough, I said: ‘I just don’t want to do a movie that’s parallel to the first one. I want a bigger plot form, and make it bigger in every way, with the physical comedy, the emotion, everything like that.’”
A quick look at the box-office results makes it clear that James has come through for his fans in a big way, and hopefully this portends that more wholesome Hollywood product is in store for the public.