The new Adam Sandler film is out in a couple of weeks. No, don't go away – this one seems to have an interesting premise! Pixels is the story of three former pro-arcade gamers who have to save the world when the video games they played in the Eighties are recreated by aliens trying to invade Earth. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Q*Bert all feature... so that sounds cool... right? Check out the trailer:
But does it stack up? Here's a round-up of what the critics think:
"Really, the viewer would be better off spending 98 minutes browsing old “Bomberman” walk-throughs on YouTube than trying to care what happens to Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a tough-talking weapons expert who supplies our heroes with pixel-blasting light cannons. Her real purpose, alas, is to carry on a cringe-inducing, chemistry-free flirtation with Sam when she’s not watching him fight from the sidelines.
"Violet also has an earnest young moppet (Matt Lintz) and an ex-husband whose infidelity sends her weeping into her bedroom closet with a bottle of hooch — all told, the sort of “character development” that makes you wish the writers had made her a brainless bimbo and been done with it. Still, Monaghan might as well be playing Medea next to Ashley Benson, who gives a wordless eye-candy performance as Lady Lisa, the scantily clad, sword-wielding fantasy heroine of Ludlow’s dreams. Even more grievously wasted is Jane Krakowski as the First Lady, whose most important scene requires her to laugh and decorate a cake. This isn’t exactly “Gamergate: The Movie,” but intentionally or not, it captures the movement’s boorish ethos with dispiriting accuracy."
Variety - Justin Chang
"As the lead, Sandler is less animated than his CGI co-stars in more than one way. Lacking the grace of even a cutely cameoing Q*bert, he offers the same Billy Madison performance that he's been giving for 20 years, only the movie itself is now also aware at how truly boring this has become. Indeed there’s plenty of lip-service about him being a 40-something schlub who needs to get his act together, but it's still the same dog and pony show of phoned in immaturity and smiling grade school misogyny that we've endured for some time now."
Den of Geek - David Crow
"For fans of Sandler’s broad studio comedy, Pixels will go down easy. Everyone else should watch Patrick Jean’s ingenious short film that inspired Pixels. In just over two minutes, it accomplishes what Columbus’s blockbuster fails to do in almost two hours, in that it’s witty, inventive and smart."
The Guardian - Nigel M Smith
And here is that original film that Smith mentions:
"When one considers how good this material might have been if placed in the right hands, to see it squandered this way makes it almost more painful to view than the typical Sandler stinker."
RogerEbert.com - Peter Sobczynski
As if the above reviews weren't damning enough though, perhaps the most brutal by a long way is the review from Movie Bob on YouTube. Just watch it to see what we mean. Though be warned, there's strong language, and anger so relentless that it may make you worried for his health.
Hey at least there's all of those... umm, Adam Sandler Netflix films to look forward to, right?