Kyle J. Steenblik

Pixels is a Comedy Completely Devoid of Life

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2 stars out of 5Pixels
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Screenplay by: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling
Pixels movie posterBased on the short film Pixels by Patrick Jean
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox, Ashley Benson, Jane Krakowski
Running time: 105 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments

Pixels displays humor less comedy with practiced ease, turning the most hilarious concept into a punch line with all the life of a dead raccoon.  Each laugh was prompted and expected, the unexpected was too bizarre to register as funny, and the rest was one missed opportunity after another.  This movie is nothing more than just another film served up as an easy paycheck for Adam Sandler and Kevin James, whose lazy comedy screams contempt for audiences.  Screenwriter Tim Herlihy once again takes what may be a clever or amusing idea and reduces it to the same awful gags he has employed for twenty years now, Pixels should be Herlihy’s, Sandler’s and James’ last call for comedy, unfortunately it won’t be.  At best I could call this a three chuckle film, and most of those came from Peter Dinklage, but it was most definitely not because of his dialogue, but his character work was just ridiculous enough to coax a chuckle from me, regrettably that is the highest praise I can offer this movie.

As kids in the 1980s, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Will Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad), and Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant (Peter Dinklage) saved the world thousands of times – at 25 cents a game in the video arcades.  Now, they are going to have to do it for real.  In Pixels, when intergalactic aliens discover video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth, using the video games as the models for their assaults — and now-U.S. President Cooper must call on his old-school arcade friends to save the world from being destroyed by PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede, and Space Invaders.  Joining them is Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a specialist supplying the arcaders with unique weapons to fight the aliens.   – Courtesy Sony Pictures

I want, very much, to cut this film down by listing everything wrong with it, but that would be an exercise in masochistic writing.  To put it simply, the film is as a whole, insulting to gamers, geeks, nerds, men, women, homosexuals, heterosexuals, and the entire executive branch of the United States government.  It should have been filed with joy from every pixel, instead, it was full of lackadaisical malaise, and tired humor. There are thousands of better things to do than watch this movie, all of them are video games produced in the 1980’s.  Go play them, and experience the spark of joy this film could easily have been.  If  you are wondering, I gave this two stars for Peter Dinklage’s hair, the soundtrack, and Q*bert.

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