Because of the less-than-stellar reviews (19% on Rotten Tomatoes), I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but, I actually liked Pixels. Now, I'm no Adam Sandler fanboy. I've loathed just about everything he has put out in the last five years. We saw it during our date night this weekend and, despite me dreading it, a lot of laughs were had in this movie.
Pixels is based off of a short film of the same name. The original short film is only about two minutes long, so a lot of filler had to be added in order to bring it up to feature length. Much of the filler seems to derive from an episode of Futurama where video game characters wage war on Earth. Throw in a contrived romance and add some Adam Sander-isms and you've got Pixels. And it's actually a decent movie.
Peter Dinklage's character, Eddie "Fireblaster" Plant, was hilarious. His jokes were not simply lame puns and one liners like Adam Sandler's character. Eddie provides us with situational comedy which is great to see in a Happy Madison film. Josh Gad's character is the perfect embodiment of all those conspiratards out there. He is the perfect neckbeard virgin character, and he steps away from the normal nerd character who solves math problems. Gad's karaoke scene was great and the love between Gad's character and Ashley Benson's character, Lady Lisa, is the embodiment of the neckbeard dream of ingame character love coming to life. I will say that the romance between Sandler and Monaghan felt forced. They don't have a lot of chemistry. Still, I appreciated Sander roping in the zaniness this time around
So, why have people been savaging this movie? The plot is formulaic, requires quite a few leaps in logic to work and has a number of subplots that are left unresolved at the end. And there isn't exactly a lot of reverence paid to the arcade characters that they use in Pixels. I have heard a lot of people screaming in outrage about how Q*Bert shouldn't be able to speak English, but that didn't bother me. It's made very clear that he wasn't actually Q*Bert but an alien embodiment of him. What did bother me was the general lack of knowledge about the very games that Pixels pays tribute to. Pac-Man arcade cheat codes? Really? No mention of the Donkey Kong kill screen? Come on!
All in all, Pixels, despite its flaws, is actually a pretty funny movie and I was happy to have seen it. I might actually watch it again when it comes out on DVD. There. I said it.