The other night I was sitting on my friend's couch, and while watching some television, an advertisement for Paul Blart: Mall Cop popped up. It was a bit painful to watch. (Well, really painful, but I was pitifully attempting to be nice.) However, rather than evoking a "that's not my thing" reaction, or a rant about the deterioration of Hollywood, it was like watching that earnest and untalented kid at the talent show who is trying their hardest, but just not getting a good reaction from the audience. You feel for them, but know that it's a lost cause.

As Kevin James' Paul Blart hunched down and weaved through the queue ropes, my friend said that he had nothing against James, but that the "funny" guy's roles were awful. This came from a guy who enjoys chastising the foibles of Hollywood -- the one who doesn't pull any punches.

That led me to think: What is it about Kevin James that comes off as entirely inoffensive, even when his work looks downright terrible? From what I've seen, he doesn't evoke the same vehemence saved for the likes of modern-day Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, or other comedians making questionable cinematic moves.

Is it because he didn't have a solid start to build love and fandom, so less disappointed vehemence bubbles out? The same could be said about Dane Cook, but I think his naysayers come much more from a place of a rebellion against Cook's fandom. Is his earnestness that palpable that we just can't bring ourselves to rip him apart? Do we expect that little of him?