Kevin James in 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop'




Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a comedy the critics hate, is still number one at the box office.


The slapstick comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, starring portly Kevin James, took in a healthy $21.5 million over the weekend, for an impressive total of nearly $65 million in its first ten days.

Professional critics have savaged the film, but audiences have ignored the naysayers—or perhaps  they have actively taken the negative critiques as a good sign that the film will be entertaining and convey wholesome ideas despite the presence of vulgar humor.

That’s usually the smart thing to do when critics are confronted with genre films that don’t openly call for the devaluation of all values.

Also doing quite well this past weekend was Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, third in the vampires vs. werewolves series and a prequel to the first installment. It took in $20.7 million and finished a strong second, just behind Mall Cop, even though it has only a brief appearance by series star Kate Beckinsale. Perhaps it would have finished first if its reviews had been a bit worse.

Clint Eastwood’s excellent Gran Torino is still going strong, finishing third with $16 million, bringing its total U.S. earnings up to $97.6 million.

And Oscar nominee and critical darling Slumdog Millionaire? Fifth, with a $10 5 million weekend. Not bad for an indie film, but just imagine how well it might be doing with, say, Shia LaBoeuf as the Indian street kid, spiced up a few shootouts between the police and the Mafia. A sure hit.