Our beloved “golden age” arcade games from the '80s terrorize earth in ‘Pixels,’ Adam Sandler’s sci-fi comedy and homage to nerd culture during my favorite decade. Admittedly, I’ve never been an Adam Sandler fan, even during his stint on SNL in the '90s. For the most part I find him so gratingly annoying and unlikable in films such as ‘Happy Gilmore’ and ‘The Waterboy’ that I just wanted to punch him in the face, hard. C’mon now, I can’t be the only one. The “Golden Raspberry” (aka Razzie) awards he won in recent years for such critical (and commercial) flops as ‘Jack & Jill’ and ‘That’s My Boy” prove that his schtick is beyond old and is no longer funny, if it was funny at all in the first place.
Alas, I had to see ‘Pixels’ for nostalgic reasons. The premise of ‘Pixels’ is an alien invasion of earth using pixelated arcade game monsters as the instruments of our destruction. Instead of sending motherships the good old fashioned Hollywood way, Pac-Man, Centipede and Donkey Kong were dispatched to wipe out humanity because the aliens misinterpreted those wonderful 8-bit video games we sent 30 years ago on a deep space probe beyond our solar system as an act of war rather than a message of peace and good will. And since current Gen Y-ers are only versed in twitchy video games like CoD and Halo, the government has to recruit early Gen X-ers like developmentally arrested 48-year old man-child Adam Sandler who excelled in these games of yore. Obi Wan, you’re our only hope. God help us.
While ‘Pixels’ tried hard to compare itself to that ‘80’s classic, ‘Ghostbusters,’ it failed to approach that movie’s originality, charm and wit. The humor was only scatter-shot and mostly missed the mark; even its best moments couldn't elicit more than a chuckle from the audience. ‘Pixels’ is also filled with silly ideas that isn’t funny at all, like the hare-brained scheme to train elite Navy SEALs in a crash course to play ‘80s-era arcade games to do battle against the pixelated invaders. Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised because in ‘Pixels’ the POTUS (the President of the United States) is none other than Sandler's chubby 'Grown Ups' co-star Kevin James ('Mall Cop,' 'The King of Queens'), so what did we truly expect?