"The Video Game Nerds Save the Day!"
What You Need To Know:
(BB, C, LLL, VV, S, A, M) Strong moral, heroic worldview with light redemptive content (including an example of repentance from cheating) in a comical setting with strong Pro-American content; 22 or 23 obscenities (several “s” words, a bunch of “h” words, a few “d” words, one or so SOBs), one strong profanity and five light profanities; light action comedy violence includes video game explosions, life-size video game spaceships, objects, creatures, and characters attack people and destroy buildings and parts of buildings, soldiers fire light guns at video game things to blast them into parts like weird-looking LEGO cubes, life-size video games transform people into cubes, but some people are beamed up, and one person’s hand is restored (video game centipede has a scary face), vehicles chase giant Pacman, narrow escapes, and life-size video game King Kong throws barrels at people; no depicted sex, but one supporting character is pictured as a rude ladies man and orders a double date with Serena Williams and Martha Stewart, but he only gets a date with Serena though later, after he becomes a hero, Serena and Martha invite him to the Lincoln bedroom, plus divorced male and female leads share a kiss eventually and earlier inform each other that their former spouses cheated on them, and another supporting character falls in love with a video game character, who later becomes real and they share a kiss; no nudity; brief alcohol use in a couple scenes; no smoking or drugs; and one character cheats but later repents.
PIXELS is a diverting, funny, entertaining science fiction comedy for teenagers and adults about a group of mysterious aliens who challenge humans on Earth to a winner-take-all match involving deadly life-size video games from the 1980s. The punishment if the humans lose? Destruction of Earth! The movie opens in 1982, with a young Sam Brenner losing the first video game championship to Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant. A video of the competition is put on a NASA capsule looking for alien life in outer space. Years later, Sam (Adam Sandler) is a divorced installer of hi-tech gadgets, and Sam’s rival, Eddie (Peter Dinklage), is in jail for various crimes, but Sam’s best friend, Will Cooper (Kevin James), is President of the United States! The three men’s other video game competitor, Ludlow (Josh Gad), has become a conspiracy nut living in his mother’s basement. Unfortunately for Earth, some powerful aliens misinterpret the video games as a declaration of war. They attack the Earth using the 1980s video games as models for their assault. Ludlow figures out the aliens are challenging Earth to deadly video game matches. The aliens will destroy Earth unless the humans win three games. The president turns to Sam and Ludlow to help train the troops in how to stop the giant video game attacks with some recently created energy weapons. Despite Sam and Ludlow’s instructions, the soldiers prove clueless when it comes to 1980s video games. So, it’s up to the nerds, including Sam’s rival, Eddie, to save the world! During the Giant Pacman battle, however, Eddie throws a monkey wrench into the competition, endangering every one and every thing. Adam Sandler’s usual comedy schtick threatens at times to get in the way of this audience pleaser. Also, some of the dialogue and comedy in the first half is a little awkward. However, Sandler and his real-life buddy, Kevin James as the president, soon pick up the slack in the second half. Ably assisting them are Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage, who are always fun to watch. Michelle Monaghan as Sandler’s love interest, Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten, does a really nice job too. So does Matt Lintz as Violet’s dutiful young son. The movie’s use of the 1980s video games is particularly fun, especially when Sandler, as the movie’s main hero, has his back against the wall when fighting the alien invasion and calling on his video game expertise. Everything leads to a heroic, exciting, satisfying conclusion with plenty of laughs. Like other PG-13 science fiction extravaganzas recently, the biggest problem with PIXELS is a lot of PG and PG-13 foul language. There is also some brief comical innuendo concerning Peter Dinbklage’s character, who thinks of himself as a ladies man, and Josh Gad’s character, who’s enamored with a beautiful video game heroine. Finally, both Sam, the leading man, and his love interest, a female Lt. Colonel, are divorced because their spouses cheated on them. All in all, PIXES is an engaging movie for mature audiences, with a strong moral worldview, but caution is advised, especially because of the foul language. Keep the younger children home.