There’s nothing to admire about Hollywood’s current, relentless flogging of “nerd culture”; it’s a straightforward lunch-money shakedown. Nerds are the original brand ambassadors, quick to define themselves by the stuff they buy. The basic conceit of Pixels, lifted from an enjoyable 2010 short film by Patrick Jean, is that aliens are attacking the planet using tactics learned from old-school arcade games. Enter Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad—a cliché ’80s kid misfit squad, now all grown up and ready to save the world. It’s classic childhood wish fulfillment: Someday they’re gonna be sorry. Or, even sadder: Someday the thing I loved as a kid will be important again. Our Nerd Squad is another gang of schlubby, entitled white dudes with strong opinions about women's bodies (sigh). Pixels has a few good gags and a lot of lame ones: The action sequences are mercifully lighthearted, and watching Pac-Man chomp his way through the streets of New York is pretty fun. It also feels about 900 hours long. Now give us all your money (105 min.).
Director: Chris Columbus
Producer: Adam Sandler, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Allen Covert, Barry Bernardi, Michael Barnathan, Jack Giarraputo, Steve Koren, Heather Parry, Patrick Jean, Benjamin Darras, Johnny Alves, Matias Boucard, Seth Gordon and Ben Waisbren
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox, Ashley Benson, Jane Krakowski, Anthony Ippolito, Andrew Bambridge, Matt Lintz and Denis Akiyama