At this point in time and with something as horrid as JACK AND JILL and THE COBBLER now available in your local video store bargain bins, it goes without saying that Adam Sandler is a fucking hack. For reasons that have yet to be explained, the motherfucker gets to make at least a pair of movies per year and no matter how shitty both movies turn out to be, he’ll still make massive bank which guarantees him another opening week for the next year’s cinematic run. Maybe he sacrificed an excess of goats to the Dark Lord or maybe there is the fact that he literally own a portion of the studio that churns out these steaming piles of cinematic garbage on an annual basis which means he pretty much gave himself a goddamned job for life (fuck you Happy Madison) , but either way, PIXELS is yet another sad reminder of what bullshit people with an assload of money can get away with. Sure, it did fail to make good income and the critics are ripping it a new one but the fact that PIXELS got to see the light of day unlike stuff like HELLBOY 3 says a lot.
PIXELS on paper has a great premise: in the 80’s, NASA launched a time capsule into orbit to give the alien races out there a taste of 80’s America, meaning those little green dudes on Mars got a first hand taste of some classice movies like BACK TO THE FUTURE, Reaganomics and of course, arcade games like Pacman. Couple of decades later, we find out too late that E.T. read the capsule as a declaration of war (but to be fair, an entire race declaring war on another race that sent them footage of Reaganomics is a perfectly justifiable cause for hostilities) and invades Earth by using giant recreations of the famous video game characters to eradicate humanity.
With a plot like that just begging for some self-aware humor, satire, visual gags and a hell lot of nostalgia for gamers of all ages, PIXELS decides to shoot itself in the motherfucking face from the get go by turning a movie supposedly about video games into a motherfucking Adam Sandler Movie.
That being said, there is very little that can be said about this movie outside the fact that it’s just another Adam Sandler Movie that just so happens to have a lot of special effects rampaging in a city or two. It’s the same fucking formula one comes to expect from a man who makes movies to stroke his own ego and show the world just how fucking great he is:
Here you have an Unappreciated Loser whose time has finally come after a series of contrived comedic events that lead him to 1) get the Seemingly Uninterested Love Interest to (gasp) fall for him, 2) prove all his Evil Bullies and One-Note Enemies just how awesome he is and how shitty they are when compared to The Sandler, 3) participate in a lot of Whimsical Bullshit with his usual SNL Cohorts along with some wasted high-profile Celebrity Bit Roles/Cameos and 4) bend over and be a big motherfucking Corporate Whore by drowning the movie in product placements. If I missed anything, leave it in the comments.
There’s no question that PIXELS is as predictable as every one of Sandler’s movies from the past decade but what’s most surprising about PIXELS is how lazy it was. Compared to other Adam Sandler Movies that at least try to make someone laugh once, PIXELS seems like it’s going through the motions of what makes almost everyAdam Sandler Movie so bad. Characters just float disinterestedly through scenes, the plot doesn’t give a shit about loose threads (For example, how the fuck do you input cheat codes on a steering wheel? Who cares, the Creepy Basement Dweller made another sex joke.) and the movie just zips through the final battle so that it could quickly conclude the damn story with Obligatory Happy Endings for people who don’t even deserve that much fucking credit in the first place considering how rude they tend to be. It felt like the movie was so ashamed of itself that it thankfully kept itself short and rushed through the final act because it didn’t want to force audiences to drown in some asshole’s ego any longer. The jokes (or what little there were) were not just lazy but used sparingly, told too far apart from each other and weirdly enough, their tone kept shifting. When it comes to a Comedy Movie, it’s best for the jokes to fall under one department, say for example, keep a majority the jokes Dialogue Heavy like what THE BIG LEBOWSKI did or go all out with the Visual/Gross Out Gags as seen in the likes of SCARY MOVIE just to keep the mood of things consistent. Add in a curveball of a joke right the fuck out of nowhere and you’re in for a decent if not great comedic romp.
PIXELS on the other hand zigzags from Mean Spirited Juvenile Quips that only serve to jerk of Adam Sandler’s ego to juvenile PG-13 visual Gags that include Qbert pissing itself silly. The problem with most Comedy Movies starring a former stand-up comedian is that majority of the jokes are nothing but Ego Points where the Main Character gets to have a camera shoved to their face while they say shit they think will make them sound cool and look hip, when in fact two minutes of this kind of crap is enough to bore anyone sane. Case in point, every fucking thing that comes out of Adam Sandler’s mouth in PIXELS is either an uncalled insult or just him being an asshole. It’s so strange that the characters he portrays always live in a world where everyone (even if they outrank him in career positions, body size or sheer badass points) never think about punching the Rude Asshole in the face after he makes a joke about their weight or when he embarrasses them in public for some fucking made-up reason. Maybe this is Adam Sandler’s dream world: a world where he can be a complete Obnoxious Asshole 24/7 without any repercussion because even the biggest motherfucker in the prison yard is too nice to defy this Unappreciated Loser standing in front of him.
To make things a little harder to swallow, it’s this soulless humor mixed in with the Obligatory Romantic Subplot that takes center stage and priority in PIXELS, a movie billed to be showcasing 80’s Gaming Icons come to life on the big screen. Rather than prioritize the shit shown on the teaser posters, PIXELS decides that people who want to see Pacman eat New York City were better off with an hour and a half worth of Adam Sandler’s mug and shoving the message of “Adam Sandler is AWESOME” in the audiences’ fucking faces.
But the worst thing about PIXELS is how stupid it treats about just everybody in the audience who isn’t an aging Adam Sandler Fan who once upon a time enjoyed LITTLE NICKY while stoned as fuck (for the record, LITTLE NICKY sucked). Gamers who have fond memories of Donkey Kong and the like from the pixelated days will be shocked to see how these icons are wasted for one-second cameos and shitty visual gags that are only used to show off how cool Sandler and his SNL homies are (Ex. They all play nerds and basement dwellers who are better at killing shit than the motherfucking American Armed Forces). Moviegoers who just wanted to have a fun time at the cinema will leave appalled at how fucking lazy and boring PIXELS is from a comedic standpoint and pretty much anyone with a shred of decency will be turned-off it not outright disgusted at how backwards PIXELS is. Just so that you could get where I’m coming from with that last statement, PIXELS is the kind of movie that thinks Gamer Girls are nonexistent and it gives the Creepy Basement Dweller a woman as a trophy. No joking there, PIXELS literally called a female character a fucking trophy.
PIXELS, it’s fucking 2015. We live in the time of Furiosa. Did you forget to fucking grow up and remember that all that shit about girls and cooties were only a thing from a stupid childhood?
Maybe in the 90’s, PIXELS would’ve found an audience in the days of all those stupid Dude-Bro/Frat Boy Comedy Movies like AMERICAN PIE where the Man-Child Main Characters always got their way in life no matter how idiotic, self-centered and rude they could be to everyone around them. The thing is, we live in 2015. Most everybody grew the fuck up save for Adam Sandler who’s obviously just repeating the same fucking formula in his Comedy Movies because sadly, it’s all he knows. He’s desperately trying to strike oil and regain his lost popularity and comedic gold but it’s just not working. As the years go by, good comedians always change their brand of humor to match with what the current generation wants; Adam Sandler sadly missed the memo.
Granted, PIXELS is not the worst Adam Sandler movie out there and it did have some moments (the Pacman sequence was pretty creative, in my opinion) but it’s not just (possibly) the laziest movie he made but also the one with the most amount of missed potential. There was a Comedic Gem lying somewhere in the idea of aliens invading the Earth by using Super Mario and his other pixelated contemporaries but getting Adam Sandler to be the core of the story killed the motherfucker before it was even conceived.