Pixels Movie Review 2015 (written by JohnnyTwoToes of the Movie Slackers)Somewhere along the line the execution of Pixels went horrible wrong. It is a great idea, though. 80’s video games sent back to Earth from a time capsule we shot into space in the 80’s, to destroy us. Galaga, Centipede, Frogger, Donkey Kong and dare I not forget, Pacman all descend on various parts of the world to wreck havoc and cause mayhem. The only people that can save us are the world champions of those games in the form of Adam Sandler, Pete Dinklage, Josh Gad, Kevin James and Michelle Monaghan. To be fair, Kevin James is not one of the champions but he is President of The United States and friends with the others since they were kids. Michelle Monaghan is a Lt. Col. in the Air Force and is the main love interest to Adam Sandler.
There, now I have dispensed with the particulars, let me dissect the film which is a mind numbingly boring and dull one. Pixels has a great idea but does nothing with it. This film is not funny, most of all for adults, for the most part and in fact, the heroes of this film are an obnoxious bunch louts that most of us would not spend five minutes around. I can appreciate Sandler in some of his slap stick comedy films and still believe his character in Reign Over Me, Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love. He CAN act when he wants to. The problem is he seems to think all we want is him playing another snide, condescending jerk. His shtick has become old and old a long time ago. What was once funny has now given way to lazy writing and check cashing. Both of which Sandler has been able to do with regularity, even with bombs. You can thank his Happy Madison production company for that. Sandler seems to have conceptual control over each film even when he has a rather gifted director like Chris Columbus at the helm, as he does in Pixels.
Columbus is no stranger to family fare. He has directed some very sharp, observational family films like the first two Harry Potter films, Mrs. Doubtfire and Home Alone. He is well rounded and can do funny with fantasy and drama like Stepmom and Bicentennial Man. But, he has made Pixels into a loud, abrasively shrill film that never seems to get its footing. Is it supposed to be spoofing the 80’s games? Is it a homage to some of the great games of the 80’s? The script written by Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling can’t seem to make up its mind. So rather than go that route, they decided to make a film that sputters along and says nothing, at all. Gad, Dinklage and James do what they can but most of their material falls flat. Gad is especially creepy and unlikable as his character, too. There is something very off putting about a guy who hides in the back of a van with a bottle of Chloroform, as he does in Pixels.
Michelle Monaghan is a fine actress and has done a lot of prestigious films, so you would think she could spot this turkey from a mile away. She and Sandler have zero chemistry on screen. Their fighting and squabbling is immature and predictable, so when they do fall in love, I did not buy a second of it. People simply don’t talk or act the way they do in this film. The scene in which they are both summoned to the White House is cringe worthy. Brian Cox and Sean Bean (hey, at least Bean does not get killed in this picture) are thrown in for a couple of laughs which yield none. Monaghan is the only one who escapes this mess with any dignity.
In addition to Monaghan’s presence, I will give kudos to Henry Jackman’s score which is energetic and about the only thing I could latch on to. There is one fun sequence in which Pacman is chased through the streets by our stars in Mini-Coopers painted as the ‘Ghosts’ in the arcade game. it is well done and awoke me from my slumber. I laughed one time at the Centipede which bursts into an older woman’s apartment that was doing aerobics off of the TV. The Centipede stops, watches and starts to do them as well. It as the only laugh out loud moment for me. They also have gone to great lengths to make the visuals of the 80’s games look authentic and they do look great on screen. But with a lame script and lazy acting the visuals mean nothing. They are just nice to look at.
Pixels is a misfire from start to finish. The Genesis of this film is from a short film written by Patrick Jean and it undoubtedly plays much better as a short than a feature length film. The casting is all wrong and instead of making a different film with different stars and a half-way intelligent script we have Pixels, another film that Sandler has successfully driven into the ground.
Pixels- ** out of 5 by JohnnyTwoToes of the Movie Slackers
Pixels- Rated PG-13 for gaming violence and language
Pixels- Run Time 105 minutes
Pixels Movie Review 2015 (written by JohnnyTwoToes of the Movie Slackers)