Pixels – Movie Review
Pixels – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 24 Jul 2015
The school of thought that says that Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison no longer cares about making good movies does not apply to Pixels, a genuinely fun action comedy starring Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan and Peter Dinklage. When a time capsule showing a 1982 arcade game championship sent into space is interpreted as an act of war, an alien force attacks Earth by sending various arcade game characters to fight. The aliens honor the rules of the tournament in a “best of three” set made up of games where three points (lives) are needed to win.
Adam Sandler plays easygoing smartass Brenner who works at a generic replica of Best Buy’s Geek Squad doing home installations. He meets Violet (Monaghan) during one of his installations before being called to the White House by his childhood friend Cooper who is also the president. They eventually team up with Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage to fight the aliens’ video game fighters including Centipede, Breakout and Pac-Man.
The special effects and action sequences are a lot of fun. Surprisingly, Sandler comes off as genuinely funny here often acting as a straight man to a more wild-tempered Gad. In fact, Sandler’s normal roles seem to be separated into those two character’s and Peter Dinklage’s over the top egomaniac. This gives the movie almost a Ghostbusters feel at times when they are working as a team and reacting to one another. This movie works because it spreads the jokes well among a great cast. If it were up to Sandler and James alone, the movie would not be anywhere near as fun.
Though the movie is rated PG-13, it’s definitely on the border of being okay for school-aged kids. For example, there is some silly sexual innuendo from Dinklage’s character that kids too young won’t get and kids old enough to understand will find as amusing as their parents. No it’s not the best family movie out there, but it also is not the disaster many people (who have genuine reason to mistrust Happy Madison after movies like That’s My Boy and Jack and Jill) would lead you to believe.
Aaron, Cal and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: