“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” coming out six years after the release of the high-grossing “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” premiered on Saturday afternoon to a packed theater and much fanfare at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square in Manhattan. Writer, producer and star of the film Kevin James introduced, along with director Andy Fickman.
The film features Paul Blart on vacation at the Wynn resort and Casino in Las Vegas with his daughter, played again by the bubbly Raini Rodriguez, before she leaves for college. A high roller, however, played by Neal McDonough, has more sinister plans, and Blart must come to the rescue once again.
Prior to the screening, two Guinness World Records were broken: the first for the most people training on a Segway at once, and the second for the most people completing a 360-degree turn on a Segway at once. James led the riders, in what was a Paul Blart-themed block party, and all of whom were actual security guards from the greater New York area, and almost all wearing fake mustaches no less, in executing these moves.
James then made his grand entrance, rolling up on his Segway and onto the red carpet and finally the stage, and Fickman accepted their honors from a representative from the Guinness World Records office. First deputy commissioner from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Luis Castro also presented James and Fickman with an official proclamation, declaring April 11th Professional Security Guard Day.
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“Peter Sellers was [my] inspiration [for Paul Blart], because I remember watching the Pink Panther movies as a kid, and loving the fact that while the world was so serious, he wasn’t,” said Fickman before the premiere. “But also movies like ‘Naked Gun,’ or ‘Airplane,’ I think any movie where there was a crazy real-life situation happening, but at the heart of it were these bumblers involved.”
When asked what filming in Vegas was like, he said, “It’s hard, because Vegas does not shut down, [and] much like filming in the middle of Times Square at midnight, you’re going to have your hands full. The difference in Vegas is you have a small area where everyone is drinking and gambling, and either winning or losing – if they’re winning they’re loud and crazy, and if they’re losing they’re loud and crazy!”
The cast also praised James at the premiere. Eduardo Verastegui, who plays the head of security at the hotel in the film, said, “[At first] it was a big challenge for me, because I have never done comedy at that level before. [James] knew that I had never done that kind of comedy before, but that he would take care of me. Having one of the best comedians in the world as your coach … made my life very easy because he was helping me and guiding me the whole time. He told me not to try to be funny, since English isn’t my first language, and all my other movies are very melodramatic. But I’m very grateful, because [ultimately] this movie is very profound [regarding] what it means to be a hero, that if we all use our talents in a positive way, we will make this world a better place.”
The film features a hilarious supporting cast, including Gary Valentine and Loni Love as Blart’s fellow security guards, helping him out when he needs it most. Both Valentine and Love raved about the fun they had filming their fight scene. Daniella Alonso, who plays the hotel’s general manager, said of James, “He tells you there’s no wrong [when filming], we’ll do it as many times until you get what you like, I get what I like, and it was really great.”
Asked from where Mr. James drew his inspiration for Paul Blart, he said, “A bunch of the security guards I saw growing up and just feeling for them, that they have to uphold justice and they don’t get the respect, unfortunately.” Speaking to the spirit of the film, James said, “Working with the other comedians in the film was the best part, to bounce off of them and see them take the material that we wrote and raise it to another level, and having that back and forth, that was fun.”
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” a Sony Pictures production, opens nationwide April 17.