Category Archives: kevin james

Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania ~ I gotta be up front with this one. It’s not bad, but honestly I was expecting so much more from Genndy Tartakovsky’s first foray into big screen animation. “Samurai Jack,” “Dexter’s Laboratory” and especially the most recent “Sym-Biotic Titan” are among my faves on Cartoon Network. Yeah, I know he also worked on “Star Wars: Clone Wars,” but let’s get real, it is sooo not in the same league.

Hotel Transylvania is not bad, but it’s not that good either. Simplistic, and borrowing more than a little from Rankin/Bass’ Mad Monster Party? from decades ago, it struggles more than it needs to by using the voice talents (and I use the word ‘talent’ very loosely) of Adam Sandler as Dracula. It’s like listening to Sandler’s annoying Opera Man voice for almost two hours. Where there’s Sandler, there’s also Kevin James as Frankenstein, as well as a cornucopia of unfunny “Saturday Night Live” veterans.

This one is good for the kids, but might be a bit much to take for the adults. Be warned, the end breaks into a rap celebration that must be missed. Embarrassing for all involved. Seeing Steve Buscemi involved in this movie tells me he owes somebody a big favor, or he needs to fire his agent. As for Genndy Tartakovsky, his next project is rumored to be a big budget animated Popeye. I’m hoping for the best, and not more of this.

My Secret Shame

Paul Blart: Mall Cop ~ Often when I’m writing I will have the TV on as background noise. For fiction I usually require a soundtrack or a playlist, but non-fiction I just need background noise. In the afternoons I set the channel and just leave it run – turns out by cosmic design or just dumb luck I have involuntarily absorbed quite a lot of “The King of Queens.” It seemed like the show was always on, too, whether it was TBS or the CW, its programming was almost endless. The scary part, and this is confession time here, folks, I started to like the show. Yes, it’s true, Kevin James grew on me like a fungus.

So when I started seeing ads and previews for Paul Blart: Mall Cop, aired conveniently during the show that’s always on, “The King of Queens,” my interest was more than piqued. Yeah, as bad as it looked, I wanted to see it. This is my secret shame. I waited until it hit DVD so I wouldn’t feel so dirty.

It’s not bad, one might even say it’s good. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking Citizen Kane here, folks. We’re not even talking Mothra Vs. Godzilla, but it’s a matter of expectations. Mall Cop has that warning label on it, you know, the one that says this is a Happy Madison film, indicating that Adam Sandler was involved – always a bad sign.

As far as expectations go, I was fairly correct in my assessment as the movie started. It’s so formulaic and almost painful to watch – until – until it becomes Die Hard in a mall. And I’m not saying “Die Hard in a mall” the way those pitchmen in Hollywood would try to get a flick made – but I mean it in a literal way. Paul Blart: Mall Cop truly is Die Hard in a mall. And I just don’t mean if the bad guys were acrobats on X-bikes and Bruce Willis is a fat guy on a segueway.

Mall Cop follows its inspiration in plot and theme and at moments in duplicating shots. It’s really something to behold. It’s like watching Mel Brooks pay tribute to old movies, there’s a respect that is truly sincere. Again, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is not a great film, but as far as expectations go, it’s a good film. Check it out if there’s nothing else on.

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