By Laurie Coker
The kids liked it. That is worth something, even if Pixels, starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James, doesn’t appeal to adults. Its throw back to 80s video gaming held some promise and hope for me, but after a few minutes, I was clock watching and relying on my guests reactions. Exciting imagery and fast action sequences can’t cover up for worn-out jokes and a stale story pilfered from Ghostbusters. Riddled with cliché characters and too little excitement Pixels is more mess than entertainment.
Childhood friends, who grow up playing arcade games, Sam (Sandler) and Will (James) as adults are still best friends. Will becomes the president of the United States and Sam, who came in second place in the world gaming championships in 1982, is relegated to being a Geek squad installation nerd. Michelle Monaghan plays Violet, Sam’s accidental romantic interest, who just happens to also be a general in the Army. Sam, Will and Violet with the help of a few others and the US military work together to save the world from aliens, each using gigantic versions of 80’s video games and characters to battle for rights to the Earth.
Taken from a 3 minute long short film, Pixels could have been smart, but it simply is not and it relies too much on goofy gags and a cast that earns it its PG-13 rating. My two guests are eleven and they laugh out loud and they enjoyed seeing vintage games come to life, but for anyone over eleven, it completely underwhelms. I’ll admit to a few chuckles and a touch of pleasure in watching the games my son grew up with, but beyond that, nothing but asininity.
It is ever so cool seeing huge versions of Pac-Man, Centipede and others. Sandler and James are ok, but I found Josh Gad’s, character Ludlow, nearly intolerable and he is hardly the only idiotic thing about this movie. From me, Pixels earns a D+, but from my guests gave it an 8.5 (Jerry) and a 7 (Case).