Release Date: July 24, 2015
Running Time: 102 minutes
Adam Sandler’s inner man-child comes out to play again in Pixels, a Ghostbusters for gamers retro or otherwise. Sandler’s perfectly casts himself as a bored, lazy, unmotivated middle-age schlub whose life has gone nowhere since he lost an arcade gaming tournament in 1982 as a young kid. But Sandler finds his calling when aliens attack the earth using energy weapons that take the form of such arcade-game characters as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Sandler gathers a bunch of friends and gamers in a bid to beat the aliens and save the world. Josh Gad’s typically manic and mostly annoying as the resident conspiracy nut. Kevin James does nothing more than keep the calm as the President of the United States, who just so happens to be Sandler’s best friend. Sadly absent for the first half of Pixel, Peter Dinklage unsurprisingly steals every moment as Sandler’s flashy and arrogant childhood rival. A wasted Michelle Monaghan is forced to bicker with Sandler in the vain hope that sparks will fly between her lieutenant colonel and the appliance installer she views with suspicion. Needless to say, Monaghan and Sandler don’t make us forget Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. Luckily, Pixels doesn’t always hinge on whether their antagonistic relationship turns into something more—or, for that matter, Sandler’s juvenile antics with his pals, who certainly don’t possess the same tight-knit camaraderie as our favorite Ghostbusters. Based on Patrick Jean’s short of the same name, Pixels is at its best when humanity responds to the challenge issued by the aliens that have misinterpret images sent into space of kids playing video games as an act of hostility. There’s not much of a set up, which means the stakes never feel all that high—the aliens just show and start blowing up stuff—but director Chris Columbus orchestrates the mayhem with enough gee-whiz enthusiasm and technical prowess to make us feel like we’re trapped inside real-life games of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders. And, as expected from the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, the special effects are top notch. This is much more than what most Adam Sandler comedies have to offer. Guess this counts as one for the win column.
Aired: July 23, 2015
Web site: http://pixelsmovie.tumblr.com/