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Review: Pixels

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(L-r) Michelle Monaghan, Adam Sandler, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage star in Columbia Pictures' "Pixels"

Essentially, Pixels is a movie that’s trying to fuse old school video games with comedy in order to create a film is something that I could have always seen working. I’m sure that would sound like a good idea to many of us, but having someone like Adam Sandler as the lead actor would make many of those same people hesitate before choosing to see it. That’s why I wasn’t excited to see it, but as always, I made sure to keep an open mind beforehand.

In Pixels, mankind finds itself in a battle of worlds after aliens receive video-feeds of 1980’s arcade games and misinterpret them as a challenge from humans. Spurred on by the spirit of competition, the aliens accepted this unintentional challenge and created models of various arcade game characters from that time to fight their battle. In order to save the planet, President Will Cooper (Kevin James) enlists the help of 80’s video game champion (and best friend) Sam Brennan (Adam Sandler) along with two other experienced gamers to fight back and prevent the hostile take over that’s been building for over three decades.

I haven’t expected much from Adam Sandler movies in an extremely long time, but I did find what’s included here to be entertaining. As a matter of fact, Pixels is his best film since the number of hits he put out back in the 90’s. One of the reasons for that is because he’s not the main focus. While he’s still the unquestionable lead here, the attention is a bit more spread out. I don’t want to question anyone’s effort, but it’s clear that he alone shouldn’t be carrying a film anymore. Those days have been over since his films like The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy were making people laugh.

Back then, that younger Sandler was spry and had energy to his work even though he wasn’t going to win over the people making judgments on things like awards. He brought personality and fun with him in all of those features that made him a household name. These days, he’s gotten comfortable in essentially playing the same character regardless of the type of film he’s starring in. That’s what he does here, but luckily for us, everyone else decided to bring something worthwhile.

Now it’s nowhere near as good as his early work, but Pixels is a vast improvement over the number of failed movies that he’s put out over the past several years. For that alone, it’s something that I’m happy to see since I was a fan of the stuff that he used to make. I doubt it, but hopefully this signifies a return to decent movies from the guy. Comedy has been suffering these days, so I’m open for anything that will be able to provide a legitimate amount of laughter.

I’m not going to tell you to rush out and see Pixels as soon as you can, because it’s not that kind of movie. What I will say is that its sole purpose aside from making money is obviously to give audiences some sort of entertainment. In a sense, I think it does that even if it’s hard to justify shelling out your hard earned dollars for.

Although it isn’t perfect or amazing, Pixels is the forgivable type of stupid movie that knows it’s dumb and never takes itself too seriously. Maybe it isn’t as great as what made Sandler popular, but it shows there’s still something there. If only he could give more effort and provide us with more consistent laughs. If he ever gets back to something similar to that, I’d be one happy moviegoer.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Chris Columbus

Adam Sandler
Kevin James
Michelle Monaghan
Peter Dinklage
Josh Gad
Brian Cox
Sean Bean

Film Length: 100 minutes

Release Date: July 24, 2015

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

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