of Queens is probably best known among the geek contingent as the sitcom that kept Patton Oswalt gainfully employed for nine seasons, but, judged against its admittedly shitty prime time competition, it was also an innocuous, occasionally funny showcase for the likable Kevin James. Granted, I only watched maybe five whole episodes of the show, but it never infuriated me in the way something hateful like Yes, Dear did.

So I kinda root for James. He’s apparently a decent guy, good to his friends, and, as far as I know, he’s never stolen material. He may not be overpoweringly talented, but, backed up by some knowing material, he could enjoy a John Candy-esque career as a comedic lead. Better him than Larry the Cable Guy.

Unfortunately, his first solo star vehicle, Mall Cop, seems in danger of stalling out in pre-production. Though the film – about a regular joe security guard forced to protect his place of business from a "highly organized" band of thieves – was never going to be a comedy classic, it’s all but certain to fall flat now that Steve Carr has been hired to direct. Sometimes, a barely functioning hack is all you need to put over a modest film like Mall Cop; "barely functioning", however, would be an insanely kind assessment of Daddy Day Care, Next Friday, Dr. Dolittle 2 and Are We Done Yet?

Mall Cop‘s only saving grace at the moment is Steve Pink, John Cusack’s (former?) writing partner who’s currently rewriting a previous draft by James and Nick Bakay. That said, I’d feel a lot better about Pink’s involvement had he not directed the abysmal Accepted.

Mall Cop is set to begin shooting next year for Columbia Pictures.