I just looked it up, and the last Adam Sandler comedy I truly liked was released a month after I graduated from high school (Big Daddy). While he has delivered a couple of surprisingly solid dramatic performances since then (Punch Drunk Love, Reign Over Me), Sandler has never been able to recapture the magic of what made him funny in the 90’s. With this in mind, walking into an advance screening of Pixels on Monday, I was expecting a complete train wreck.
Walking out of the movie, I felt that the movie had a bit of an identity crisis. The plot of the movie revolves around 80’s arcade game characters come to life, which will bring in an audience in it’s 30’s – 40’s. At the same time, it’s clear they were going for a younger audience as well. The animation style for the video game characters was very bright and colorful. A lot (but not all) of the humor skewed towards the younger crowd as well. There were a number of people in the audience there with kids, and the kids were laughing more than the adults for the most part.
I’ve always enjoyed Sandler’s sarcastic humor and timing as an actor. He had some solid one-liners in this movie, but they are few and far between. His character, Brenner is a washed up has-been who lived his glory days as a master of arcade games in the 80’s. It honestly is a fitting role for him, and a bit metaphoric of the turn his career has taken.
Peter Dinklage stands out as the best part of the movie. As Eddie, who refers to himself as “Fire Blaster,” he was Brenner’s main competition back in the arcade days. He is the most over-the-top, stereotypical 80’s “badass” you can imagine, and it’s pretty hysterical. Making it even better, in present time, he’s still stuck in the 80’s, acting and dressing the exact same way.
The one thing I really enjoyed was the Donkey Kong scene. The CG was great, and if nothing else, I think of it as a screen test for what Ready Player One can potentially look like when it finally gets made into a movie.
So, I’ve been sitting on this review for a week and a half. I wanted to write more about other characters and the plot, but honestly, the review doesn’t deserve any more of my time. Pixels was not a good movie. If it’s $5 or under, it might be worth it, but that’s about it.
Pixels is now in theaters.