Produced by Michael Barnathan, Columbus, Allen Covert, Mark Radcliffe and Adam Sandler.
After about 30 seconds that promise turned to skepticism when Adam Sandler and Kevin James showed up.
We’re almost an hour into “Pixels” before we get a good look at the arcade video game-inspired attackers that have invaded Earth and are gobbling up humans and famous landmarks alike.
Pac-Man is a 50-foot-tall dot-chomping icon in the film, he does not act like he’s usual thing in video-games; firing and rubbling-he pixelates everything he comes in contact with in this movie.
Imagine Donkey Kong meets “War of the Worlds” and you’ll get the idea behind the new Adam Sandler comedy.
This isn’t a awful movie. His character is charming and just right for this film.
Directed by Chris Columbus – writer of “The Goonies” and “Gremlins” and director of “Home Alone” and the first two “Harry Potter” pictures – the film takes its spectacular premise and then treats it flatly, with no sense of wonder.
What kind of guy is your character in Pixels, Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant? It mostly hangs together, it has plenty of throwaway laughs, the action sequences (presented needlessly in 3-D) pass the time pleasantly. His childhood best friend (James) is now the president, and when the alien invasion breaks out, the two realize that it will be vintage gamers who can save the day.
Are you kidding me?
Pixels also features a strong female character – Violet (Michelle Monaghan). (Sure, why not.) Brian Cox is an unhinged, warmongering admiral. Meanwhile, the normally amusing Jane Krakowski is utterly wasted as an irrationally jealous first lady, relegated to a scene in which her husband is afraid to admit that another woman is pretty. Josh Gad is Ludlow, a creepy but somehow lovable gamer and conspiracy theorist who lives in his mom’s basement, naturally. Yet there are still some uncomfortable sexist jokes made by Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad). If you grew up in the 1980s, you’re bound to recognize most of the video games as well as the various TV and music video clips used throughout. Back in 1982, a time capsule was sent from Earth into outer space, and among the cultural markers contained was footage of people playing the popular video games of the era. Comedy could have been mined by contrasting the dignity of the office with the character’s goofball youth, but James doesn’t even nod in the direction of dignity.
Sandler plays Sam, who dominated the arcade in his teenage years but now is a fledgling electronics repairman.
Golden Globe victor Peter Dinklage, sporting a mullet, fares no better, with the humor of his one-dimensional character relying on his egotism and attempts to have a threesome with Serena Williams and Martha Stewart. Michelle Monaghan is cast in the ridiculous role of love interest/naval honcho. There’s a spirit of carefree nihilism in their pixelated destruction, and since their troops are play-pretend creatures, blasting them doesn’t carry the slightest smidge of real revenge.