It’s that magical time of the year again! The sun is warm, the AC is blasting, and we are all enjoying our summer at the movies; so naturally Adam Sandler has to come and ruin things with another one of his films.
“Pixels” stars Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage and Kevin James as former childhood arcade protégés who are the last line of defense when aliens send real-life 1980’s video games to destroy Earth. Chris Columbus directs.
“Pixels” had a few things going for it. Yes it starred the dynamic duo of Sandler and James, but it also featured Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage, who have the power to bring smiles to the screen. It also was from director Chris Columbus, who has given us such gems as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and the first two Harry Potter films, and isn’t one of Sandler’s normal cronies, Dennis Dugan or Frank Coraci. And unlike normal Sandler films, this one featured an actual interesting plot.
So where did it all go wrong? Well my money is when the Happy Madison banner appeared on screen.
“Pixels” looked different than your typical Sandler film, but the end product is your typical Sandler film. Sandler gets a girl who is out of his league, Kevin James trips over things (“and it’s funny because he’s fat!”) and you get more product placement than the Super Bowl. And yet again Sandler laughs and skips his way to the bank after hanging out with his friends on a movie set in an exotic location (it’s a good gig if you can get it).
I’ll get the positives for this film out now, because I feel if I delay any longer anything commendable about “Pixels” will flee from my mind. Josh Gad has a few funny one-liners, some of the video games attacking famous monuments are cool, and the film is far from Sandler’s worst. Ok [cracks knuckles] let’s do this.
All you need to know about how serious this film wants you to take it is that Kevin James is the President of the United States. [long pause] Yeah, I know. And his wife is Jane Krakowski (who has one line of dialogue in the film, by the way). Yeah. I know. By the time I accepted these facts, the film was half over.
Speaking of being half over, this film is paced horribly. Well, I shouldn’t say that. The first 30 minutes are swift; it’s the next 75 that are numbingly slow. There’s a point where Sandler and Co. are partying and drinking and having a merry-ole-time (odds are they didn’t even know they were filming the movie, they were just celebrating taking more money from hardworking American’s pockets). I felt like that scene had to be somewhere near the end of the film, however much to my dismay there was still the overlong, over-CGI stuffed finale to endure.
I’m also having a hard time figuring out the desired demographic for this movie. It is based around 80’s games (and songs) like Pac-Man and Centipede, so you would think middle-aged adults, right? But wait, there’s lots of sex and fart jokes, so must be teenage boys. But hold up, there’s little talking Q*bert (if you don’t know what that is then my point is proven) that wets itself when nervous. So clearly this is aimed at little kids. I don’t know, man…
I officially gave up on Adam Sandler back in 2013 with “Grown Ups 2” but deep down I had hope “Pixels” may finally be him turning a leaf and actually trying. I was wrong; he is still putting in the bare-minimum effort. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, they say. Well Adam Sandler has clearly never heard that saying because his formula is long broken but he doesn’t fix it, because that would require effort, something he hasn’t put into one of his Happy Madison films since 2005’s “Longest Yard.”
I don’t hate “Pixels,” despite what all the above implies, but it isn’t a good movie, and you don’t need to see it. Go watch the three minute short that the film is based off if you want to see video games attack a city. Peter Dinklage couldn’t save this movie, Chris Columbus couldn’t save this movie, heck, I doubt Mariano Rivera could save this trash.
Critics Rating: 3/10