We all know what a sad state journalism is in these days, but some reporters still perform actual fact-checking. On Friday afternoon at the AMC Theatres Coral Ridge 10
, I "fact-checked" Paul Blart: Mall Cop
-- released nationwide this weekend -- by inviting a real mall security officer from Fort Lauderdale named Steve to watch it with me.
If it's a traditional review you're looking for, go here. For the gut-wrenching truth from a grizzled veteran, jump.
Before we get to the critique, a bit of back story. It's not as easy as you might think to convince a mall cop you don't know to waste a Friday afternoon for a little social experiment you've concocted when you were watching football and saw a commercial for what you thought might be a funny movie. (There was alcohol.) Plus I figured none of my friends would want to see this movie with me anyway.
I did manage to convince Phyllis, who works at a local malleria, that it could be grand fun. But as luck would have it, when I called her Friday morning with movie times, she said she couldn't go (She gave me an excuse, but by then I was crying so hard I couldn't hear it). She did suggest a co-worker named Steve, who agreed to go to the movies with me in exchange for $15 and a bag of popcorn (times are tough).
Steve is a long way from Paul Blart. Blart wears a silly uniform and rides a Segway. Steve wears jeans and a cap and walks around his mall with what looks like an iPod (it's actually a radio he uses to stay in touch with the security room).
Here's something I didn't know: Broward public school students had the day off Friday. So for our PG-rated matinee, we got a room full of kids. Some of the following statements may be true: I like children. I do not think they smell like poop. I enjoy watching a movie surrounded by them as they talk and yell and cry and smell like poop.
Steve was probably inconspicuously examining the audience for what might be stolen stuff, but to the untrained he looked like a guy eating a lot of popcorn. Dude's good.