Pixels Sucks…and Why It Didn’t Have To Suck (Spoiler Free Review)

pixels

 

I won’t spoil Pixels in this review.  Adam Sandler did that for us.  The movie was not good, but oddly it was the kind of bad that leaves you frustrated because had it been done by a different creative team, it could have been a lot of fun.  Why is that, you say?

So first, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way (because there was plenty):

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

  • The opening credits.  I knew I was in trouble when they showed the first title card.  On a recent Gabbing Geek podcast episode we predicted the Rotten Tomatoes scores of the July releases, and discussed how we didn’t think this was an Adam Sandler production; just a vehicle for him directed by noteworthy big budget director, Christopher Columbus (the guy who directed the first Harry Potter movie.  Not the guy who gave smallbox to the Native Americans).  Yet, as I sat the the theater waiting to see a movie with a 19% RT score, I was not stunned to see we were wrong.  This title card sums up most of the negatives.

happy madison

That’s when you ask yourself “Why is Christopher Columbus directing this instead of Dennis Dugan?”, “When will Sandler’s Netflix deal get these flicks off the big screen?”and “When will Nick Swardsen show up and be the worst thing in a bad movie?”

nick-swardson-season-2-3-e1344871712377

Because it was Happy Madison (Sandler driving the bus), it has all the typical tropes of an Adam Sandler comedy.  Ah, Adam Sandler.  He knows exactly what America wanted in 1998!

It is the same shtick.  The sexist, homophobic, juvenile comedy that hasn’t aged well.  Any criticism you have of any Adam Sandler movie applies here.

What else?

  • Peter Dinklage.  What a waste of great talent.  They didn’t give him much to work with, and it feels like one of television’s BEST actors totally phoned in the role.  I’ll forgive him.  He collected a paycheck.  I was pleased, however, that in a Sandler film there weren’t a ton of references and jokes to him being a little person.  I am not sure I even heard any.  Good for Dinklage for fighting back, because I am sure Sandler wanted to make dwarf tossing jokes the whole script.
  • The Romantic Subplot.  It was contrived and annoying.  Sandler films have not always missed in this area.  There have been some good romantic leads in even his formulaic messes.  Unfortunately, they have always been Drew Barrymore.  I guess she wasn’t available…

HOW IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • Dump the cast of Grownups 2 and made it with a better creative team.  This was a cool idea (not a totally original one, but cool nonetheless).

Pacman

The scenes where Sandler and company were actually playing the games (fighting Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and especially Centipede) were fairly inspired.  That’s the scenes that had me wishing they weren’t bookended with Sandlerian nonsense.    So what could have been done?

Fire Sandler, Kevin James, and whoever Sandler uses to doctor his scripts to make them fit the Happy Madison…um…let’s call it….uh… vision?  Michelle Monaghan wasn’t a real problem; but her role was nonexistent and/or annoying.  We’ll cut her too.  Let’s keep Josh Gad and assume Dinklage would have stepped up his game with better material.  They can stay.

So who do we put in there place?

Steve Carell and Jason Sudeikis.

The only known picture of the two also includes Ant-Man.
The only known picture of the two also includes Ant-Man.

Carell plays Sandler’s role.  Sudeikis plays James’role.  Add in Tina Fey as the love interest who does much more than accept Sandler’s flirty jokes.  With a passable script and a new cast, this could have been an incredibly fun movie.  Columbus can even stay at the helm as he USUALLY makes decent flicks.  With all that, you got yourself a movie I want to watch even when the SFX stop.

But that is not the movie we got.

We got a neat premise wasted with the worst of Sandler’s tired ham.  Even some great graphics and set pieces couldn’t save this one.

I give Pixels 5 Power Pellets Out of 10.

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9 thoughts on “Pixels Sucks…and Why It Didn’t Have To Suck (Spoiler Free Review)”

  1. I knew this was going to happen as soon as I saw it was an Adam Sandler flick. His brand of comedy stopped being funny about 20 years ago and Hollywood has yet to get the message. It is frustrating because the concept did seem kinda cool and Sudeikis and Carell would have been much better than Sandler and James.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like Sandler, but the movies recently haven’t been something of interest. I had already said the closest I would get to this one is netflix….and not even sure I’d watch it then. I guess you can’t just pick up a guitar, put on a costume, and add some simply rhyming lyrics and expect that to carry you forever……he’s done a lot better than I ever guessed he would….but is coming back to “he is what I thought he was”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really liked pixels. My kids also love it, stop being such a damn hater. And I hate Steve carrel. He tries waaay to hard to be funny. Your off on this review!

    Like

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