Here’s the thing about Maya Blart

This afternoon I went to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. It was not our first choice, but that’s what we get for relying on a Dominican movie theater’s website for showtimes. It turned out to be a good one though and not just because we had the theater to ourselves. (Nobody else wanted to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 at 4:40pm on a Saturday afternoon? Weird.) I enjoy a Kevin James comedy, always have, but as funny as he was, Paul Blart was not my favorite character in the movie. No, for me, the best part of the movie was Paul’s daughter, Maya. (Spoilers ahead.)

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In the Mall Cop sequel, Paul and his daughter Maya are off to Las Vegas for some kind of security guard convention, which means we get to meet a lot of very interesting security guards. Of course, there is something fishy going on at the hotel and Paul gets down to business, using his security guard training, to figure out what’s going on and solve the case. He falls down a lot, gets himself in and out of sticky situations (sometimes literally sticky), and shares a lot of really funny exclamations. But, like I said, it’s Maya who stole the show in my mind. Here are some reasons why Maya’s the bomb.

1. The movie starts with her getting accepting to UCLA. She’s smart and driven.

2. Almost immediately upon arrival in Las Vegas Maya meets super cute valet Lane (played by David Henrie). Throughout the movie he invites her to hang out by the pool and to a party with his friends. He also buys her an adorable gift that turns out to be more than just a trinket. She totally snags a hunk, is what I’m saying, but doesn’t make a big deal out of it.

3. When (HERE COMES THE SPOILER) Maya and Lane get kidnapped/held hostage, it’s Maya who listens and observes, hiding away knowledge for future use. It’s Maya who uses what she has to disengage a hotel room lock. It’s Maya who has the pocket knife the duo use to cut up bed sheets for an escape rope. It’s Maya who uses the knowledge gained by listening-in to ultimately take down the bad guy. Maya is no damsel in distress. She may be being held hostage, but she doesn’t just sit around and wait for her dad to rescue her and she doesn’t wait for Lane to come up with a plan. She gets the job done. raini-rodriguez-blart-rides-again-clip

4. Maya is a woman of color (of Mexican descent) and she’s also not sporting the typical leading-lady body type. She is playing Paul Blart’s daughter, after all. Yet her weight is never mentioned EVER. Not even as a joke.

5. Maya cares about her dad and is willing to sacrifice her dreams to love him best. Of course, in the end, Paul fully supports her decision to go to UCLA.

I heartily applaud the team behind Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 for writing a character like Maya. She is a character I can actually look up to, for her ingenuity, creativity, and loving support of her father. Not to mention her fashion sense. Check out those ruffles!

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5 Replies to “Here’s the thing about Maya Blart”

  1. I totally need to see this movie!
    I love when people with “unusual” characteristics appear in the story and that is never mentioned as something “unusual”. The creators just show it as a normal part of the character’s personality. Something that we don’t need to be shocked about. It’s just the best way to defend it.
    By the way, hi again! I was out from wordpress a long time, but I’m back here to read your amazing posts 😀

    1. I’m also loving Under the Dome lately because of the diverse cast. It’s a show based on a Stephen King novel with the first two seasons on Netflix. Welcome back!!

  2. I’m glad to see someone writing about Maya! To me she’s the one saving grace of the Paul Blart: Mall Cop film franchise. Her writing and characterization and overall heads and shoulders above Paul’s, but I wouldn’t be so quick to cheer for the writers of the movie even for having made her. Even if her weight and entire character aren’t jokes in the films, Paul’s weight, his eating, his hyperglycemia and both of the romance plots he’s been a part of have been treated as jokes. And I know it’s a comedy, but that still, there are plenty of ways to be funny other than “haha fat people”. Where the worst they do with Maya is dress her in weird “we don’t know how to dress fat people right” frumpy clothes in PBMC 2, all the movies do is the worst when it comes to Paul himself.

    So even if Maya is a ray of sunshine cutting through the fog of fat stereotypes and painfully bad comedy that is the Mall Cop movies, her decent treatment still doesn’t cancel out all the fatphobia surrounding the characterization and writing of Paul. :/

    1. You’re right. This is an awful thing I’m about to say, but the writers’ and creator’s treatment of Paul’s character is mostly what I’d expect. Baby steps forward.

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