Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The video game invasion of Pixels is easily Game Over.
Review by Matt CummingsIt's official: Adam Sandler is The Worst Well-Known Actor Alive. With a resume of infamy that includes the gross (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry), the totally inappropriate (That's My Boy), and the plain boring (Grown Ups 2), the SNL alum seems far away from the heady days of Happy Gilmore. His newest travesty Pixels is much like the rest: filled with promise but utterly devoid of results. LEGO Movie, filled with cute video game icons that are supposed to warm our hearts; instead, we get checkbox characters that have no will or individuality, making their assault on humankind look more like the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation. We never make the connections - human or CGI - that are necessary to gain a personal stake in what's happening, clearly something that LEGO executed flawlessly. Hotel Transylvania, Men, Women, and Children), but in Pixels he's just another loser who finds himself in the arms of yet another Hollywood hottie. Sandler has all the style and charm of week-old garbage, but more importantly he has no conception of his character and fails to emote Brenner into a likable figure. Instead, he's just another guy with promise who became a loser dude with an unfulfilled life. James fares only slightly better, who is totally unbelievable as the president, his buffoonery equal to Paul Blart and the dozen exactly similar roles throughout his checkered career. For all his weirdness, Gad is largely de-fanged throughout, with his singing bit in Act 3 feeling more like a special request that someone at the studio somehow approved. More important, the three just don't click, no matter the arrangement. That's odd for Sandler and James, who've worked in way too many films together; I'm not asking for Oscar-worthy performances, but most of the time I do want to actually like the characters I'm watching. Part of the problem here lies in the writing foursome that includes Tim Herlihy, who uses reality when they think it suits them but brushes that aside when it's time for real character development or a plot device to keep the story moving. Director Chris Columbus just lets Sandler, Gad, and James do whatever they want, soon becoming carbon copies of previous characters from other films. Monaghan was terrific in season 1 of True Detective, but here she's just another woman who needs Sandler's Brenner to save the day. The real fun is had by Dinklage, but even his shtick gets old and even a little weird. The comedy here is just a scrubbed version of Sandler's usual stink, hoping that a PG-13 rating will bring in more audiences. Luckily, we're not treated to the typical Sandler expressions, nor are we forced to endure another trademark: a sex scene with an elderly woman. Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.