(PG) 1.5 out of 5
Director: Andy Fickman.
Cast: Kevin James, Neal McDonough, Raini Rodriguez, Eduardo Verastegui, Daniella Alonso.
THE fact that this film exists is baffling.
Yes, the 2009 original made a surprising amount of money - about seven times its budget - but who was clamouring six years on to see the further adventures of this overly passionate and unfunnily disillusioned security guard?
In fact, who clamours to see anything starring Kevin James, an actor whose primary skills involve falling over and not being funny?
If you're thinking "I do!" then you're in luck, because Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is full of James falling over and not being funny.
James returns as the moustachioed mall cop, who was riding high on his segway at the end of the first film, having saved the day and got the girl.
At the start of the sequel, he's lost the girl and the glory of his heroism has faded.
But when he attends a security guard conference in Las Vegas, Blart stumbles upon a team of thieves stealing priceless artworks from one of the casinos and an opportunity to be a hero once more.
There are three, maybe four laughs across the 90 minutes of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, most of which are in the final half hour, so you could almost say the film gets up a head of steam in the home straight ... almost.
Conversely this leaves long stretches without much to chuckle about, and given that the film is supposed to be a comedy (because we're sure as hell not in it for the tantalisingly plot twists, superlative performances or thought-provoking subject matter) it's not unfair to call this a near-total failure.
As a result, when a joke actually lands successfully you get not so much a feeling of mirth, but of surprise.
In trying to find pluses for this film, aside from the three or four "LOLs" in the last half hour, the best that can be said is there's a fight sequence toward the end that's done pretty well and Raini Rodriguez is admirably plucky in her performance as Blart's daughter Maya.
Another plus is that it's better than some of the other titles in the Kevin James back catalogue, namely Grown Ups and Zookeeper, but that's like saying one bout of syphilis was better than another bout of syphilis - the fact remains you still had syphilis.