A messy nerd-gasm with 80s' pop-culture pot-pourri

A messy nerd-gasm with 80s' pop-culture pot-pourri

A messy nerd-gasm with 80s' pop-culture pot-pourri

English (U/A) Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan and Peter Dinklage

It’s sad to see an actor waste away. Adam Sandler has always had the spark that, if treated properly, could have warmed hearts and ignited minds. But director after director, studio after studio seem to have taken it upon themselves to single-mindedly ignore that spark, or even extinguish it for good.

And they have good reason too! Sandler may be the only person to have won the twin Razzies for Worst Actor and Actress for the same film —Jack and Jill, if you want to stay clear of it — but his films bring home the bacon. At least to the filmmakers' homes.

Thus, we have the loveable loser Brenner (Sandler), who once (almost) won the world championship in arcade games, now installing electronic equipment at homes, while his equally loser friend Cooper (James) is now the President of the US.

As has been amply explained in the trailers, trouble starts when an alien race interprets the aforementioned gaming championship's videotape — sent to space by Nasa in 1982 — as a declaration of war on them, and decides on a showdown with our planet in the only way possible that can make men out of our misfits.

So while the US president and a Darpa scientist (Monaghan) team up with the nerd herd of Brenner, Ludlow (Gad) and Eddie (Dinklage) to save the world, the audience has little choice but to enjoy or endure more than 90 minutes of throwback to 80s’ video-game and pop-culture staples.

Wait, there's more! But only in the form of caricaturish cameos by the likes of Sean Bean (spoiler alert: He doesn't die!) and Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani (both real and reel), besides Serena Williams and Martha Stewart as themselves.

Chris Columbus — the man behind the first three Harry Potter films — wastes Dinklage and Gad’s talents, while giving James and Sandler some of their most stereotypical lines. And none of them do justice to Pixels, whose paper-thin storyline and plot twists make it as enjoyable as playing Road Rash for the umpteen-thousandth time, but without anybody to ram into, kick or beat, and a straight road ahead.

The only reason this is not a one-star film is because of all the nostalgia the video games evoke. Then again, that’s hardly the film's achievement!