The 80’s comes to life, then dies again in Pixels

“Why can’t he get his hands out of his pockets? Get your hands out of your pockets!” I couldn’t stop internally shouting this while watching Adam Sandler slug his way through “Pixels”, his newest, uh, movie, I wanna say.

Okay let’s just to the nitty gritty of it, because the more I think about this movie the more I find my life shortening. “Pixels” is not a good movie in most aspects. Here is a lazy, moronic, blatant attempt to mix “Ghostbusters” and video games while avoiding all fun both of those deliver.

I don’t know where the massive budget went for these movies, because clearly someone has realized by this point that Sandler is overpaid. I ask this because the plot, which involves aliens attacking Earth with retro video games, seems to forget that at some point you should see actual aliens plotting and looming around.

One day—years after NASA sent a probe into space containing data and footage of Earth’s history, including video games—aliens just sort of attack of the thin blue air. No actual scenes can you see aliens finding this probe or even lingering above Earth manically twirling their alien moustaches with their tentacles. No, that money went to Peter Dinklage’s mullet.

My point here is that, for some reason, nothing is ever explained and it all just sort of happens. For instance, once Kevin James (playing the President, naturally) finds out about the attack he calls in Sandler (still reeling from losing a video game championship 30 years before, again, naturally) to say “Hey, doesn’t that sound like “Galaga?” And after a, “kind of”, that gives James enough info to say to his security council “We are being attacked by video games.” The reply is an unopposed “that makes sense.” Two days later they have mega ray guns and pimped-out Mini Coopers ready to fight back. I know the military has a huge defense budget, but I don’t think they just had this stuff sitting in a broom cupboard waiting to be used.

This is not only evidence of a bad script, but that bad script is a prime example as to why you should leave short films (this one was adapted from one made by Patrick Jean) well-enough alone. Nothing new seems to be added. They simply dragged it out to 100 minutes like they would a terrible “Madtv” sketch.

My hope was that “Pixels”, if it were bad, wouldn’t be a “bad Adam Sandler movie”, simply a bad action-comedy—which it is. Unfortunately, the less-of-a-story-more-of-a-scenario story structure and lazy humor are trademarks of usual Sandler fare, not to mention how the hot girl inexplicably finds this supposed loser charming and confident as they share a kiss right as the credits roll.

Now this is not an attack on Sandler, which has basically become a career for most critics. I will admit that any love for comedy and “Saturday Night Live” is partially in thanks to Sandler. I have also seen amazing, personal work come out of “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Funny People”. The man can act when he wants to. For some reason he just keeps picking projects that fail to target his strengths, which is what’s so sad about movies like “Pixels”.

I know he can do better and I wish he does someday. I believe he will as he gets older and realizes this current shtick won’t carry him much longer, and that’s a day I very much looking forward too. Until then, all I can say about “Pixels” is that its typical Adam Sandler infused with Michael Bay. Take that as you will. Hopefully with a coffee mug of whiskey and eight Tylenol.

GRADE: D-

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