Pixels – Film Review


Pixels – Film Review by C.K. MacNamara

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler, Timothy Dowling

Starring: Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, Kevin James, Josh Gad

The fetid swamp that is the summer movie season has descended upon us once again, and nothing flaunts the cheapness of disposable cinema like an Adam Sandler film. The ageing star of yesteryear teams up with the cinematic marvel Kevin James (the marvel being how the man continues to be treated as an actual actor) to deliver Pixels – Big Hollywood’s attempt at capitalizing on the resurgence of 80’s pop culture.

The films overriding themes are of desperation and exploitation, as it attempts to hide the absence of any actual substance under a layer of flashing 80’s icons. For a movie about videogames and flogging nostalgia the film suffers from a lack of basic knowledge of its subject matter, usually only exerting itself to name the colourful characters on screen rather than actually showcase them – Hey look it’s Donkey Kong, remember Donkey Kong?!

A tired and cynical looking Sandler wanders about alongside a mullet toting Peter Dinklage, displaying all the acting prowess of a drunken Orson Welles at a wine commercial. Kevin James is hauled up to perform his best President Taft impression, and together the motley crew of Scooby-Doo rejects plunge an already skeletal concept down the drain.

The premise revolves around a recording of a 1982 arcade tournament being fired into space, eventually reaching an alien race who take it as a challenge to take over Earth. The plan for world domination being sending giant reincarnations of the video game characters, in scaled up mock-ups of the old style arcade games. Lazy writing expounds upon lazy writing, and hardly a minute goes by without a ‘why?’ moment.

Who exactly this film is targeted towards remains a mystery, with a premise that appeals to no one other than hardcore early era gamers, the film retains a penchant for mocking the ‘nerds’ its plot revolves around; completely lacking self-awareness the script lashes out in all directions in desperation for a cheap laugh, alienating everyone.

Adam Sandler productions have long become synonymous with derogatory schlock, as evidenced by the recent mass walk-out of Native American cast members employed in his upcoming Netflix flick The Ridiculous Six. His reputation is well earned and it is small consolation that he is treated more as an odd novelty than an actual artist – something to gawk at from a distance in the hopes his Charlie Sheen-esque descent reaches its climax sooner rather than later.


Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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