I haven’t really enjoyed an Adam Sandler movie since The Water Boy. And judging from his box office returns, most of the rest of the world feels the same way. It just seems that with each movie Sandler does, he seems to be phoning it in more and more. I admittedly have gotten so fed up with Sandler’s films, that I haven’t even given his most recent ones (Grown Ups 2, Blended) the time of day. But against my better judgment, I decided to give Sandler another shot.
Pixels stars Sandler as a former 80’s arcade gamer who is going through a midlife crisis while working for a computer repair and installation company. He is called upon by his best friend and current U.S. President (Kevin James) to defeat an alien race that invades in the form of 80’s video games like Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Centipede. To defeat them he’ll need the help of a nerdy conspiracy theorist (Josh Gad) and his old arch rival (Peter Dinklage).
Aliens attacking in the form of 80’s video games isn’t as unbelievable as Paul Blart being the President of the United States. So it goes without saying that you’ll need to check your brain at the door to get any type of enjoyment out of this movie. Once again, Sandler looks like he’s just going through the motions. He makes a funny joke here and there, but for the most part he and the rest of the cast is just a bore. Dinklage and Gad do their best to inject some life into this comedy, but even their antics come off as trying too hard after a while.
The script feels like it’s written by a 9 year old. The President is a buffoon, the military is a bunch of moronic meatheads, and the less said about Michelle Monaghan’s disgracefully written character, the better. She’s a military general who’s basically only in the movie to be Sandler’s love interest, because she does more crying and ranting than anything productive.
If you’re familiar with the classic games, you’ll surely take pleasure in the actual gaming action. The Pacman battle through New York City is a nice touch. But whenever any actual character interaction is going on, you’ll either be annoyed or feel like mentally checking out. And sadly, that’s become a sentiment in too many Adam Sandler movies of late.
FINAL GRADE: D+