The Sudden Infatuation with Mall Security Guards

The number one movie at the box office last week was Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It's raked in $40 million and counting so far. There's another mall security movie slated for release later this year--Observe and Report. And now word has come out of a new sitcom--Walorsky--that will also be centered on a mall security guard.

The New York Times examines this baffling trend.

Though these projects take different approaches to the quiet heroism of retail security, they collectively suggest that there is something irresistible and endlessly versatile about the American mall. “It's a microcosm, a Disneyland version of what the world's supposed to be,” said Jody Hill, the writer and director of “Observe and Report.” “You have the latest fashions, electronics and people from every walk of life. It becomes a character itself.”

For Mr. James (who wrote “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” with Nick Bakay), the shopping mall was another setting to play the hapless every-dunce character he refined on the CBS sitcom “King of Queens” (on which he played a driver for a UPS-like delivery service) and film comedies like “Hitch” and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.”

“I don't think it really dwelled on the psyche of a mall cop so much,” said Jeff Blake, chairman for worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony, the parent of Columbia Pictures. “It allowed Kevin to really be the sympathetic underdog in the story, and that really was the winning formula.”

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