Why It’s Okay to Enjoy Kevin James Comedies

Apparently, it is uncool to like Kevin James comedy movies. Well, few have accused of me going along with the herd. In fact, many have in recent months accused me of being everything from insane to ideal fodder for a Sarlacc all-the-Timothy-Sexton-you-can-eat buffet. Okay, I admit it publicly: I think the Star Wars prequels are better than the original trilogy, I think Gas Van Sant’s literal remake of “Psycho” improves upon Hitchcock’s original in some ways and I think Kevin James makes funny and sweet little comedies that are an absolute necessity in this world where Danny McBride’s pre-adolescent fever dreams are greenlighted by studio executives you wish knew better.

Barnyard

Amidst all the insane outrage over cows with male names sporting udders, it was difficult to penetrate to the fact that “Barnyard” is actually a funny Disney movie. Okay, admittedly, the funniest character is the farmer with the crazy wife, but Kevin James makes Otis the cow come to life as a very funny Disney cartoon character. If you somehow missed “Barnyard” you should go back to it. It is very clever, funny and, befitting a Kevin James comedy, ultimately rather moving.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

I don’t remember “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” being an enormous box office hit, yet subsequent years have lifted this character into a sphere normally occupied by characters from blockbusters. Paul Blart will likely forever be the iconic role for which Kevin James is known. With “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” James created a template that that I think could be easily carried forth through at least another decade or so of movies. Paul is a lovable loser who manages to convey a sense of the pathetic without lapsing into bathos. If you think this is easy, try watching a handful of Robin Williams comedies where he tries to pull off the same thing. Try to watch the scenes were Williams attempts to create a sense of pity without cringing. Try it. I dare you.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

It is quite likely that Adam Sandler could only pull off being a ladies’ man by teaming up with Kevin James. “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” is neither Sandler’s nor James’ best movie by any means, but they do make have a certain undeniable chemistry. James adds yet another portrait of a guy staring straight down the barrel of the reality that even being just slightest overweight presents a rough ride to happiness.

Zookeeper

It’s not Paul Blart gets a job at the zoo, but there is unquestionably a similarity between this Kevin James movie and the one containing his identifying role. “Zookeeper” has less of a plot to adhere to than Blart and replaces that cinematic device with a collection of very funny talking animals. If you didn’t like “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” then chances are fairly good you won’t like “Zookeeper.” I liked them both. And I’m looking forward to Kevin James’ upcoming movies.