The problem with Pixels isn’t that even Adam Sandler looks like he’d rather be somewhere else. Nor is it the much discussed ‘woman as trophy’ trope that the film offers up (an off-note that also melds with the film’s inability play within it’s own rules). It isn’t even the ‘oh, was that a joke?’ thought that runs through your head far too many times as the gags fall flat or get thrown away by the cast.
The problem with Pixels is that it’s wholly misconceived. Who’s it for? Someone old and nerdy enough to like the references and yet undiscerning enough to not care about the childish scripting? Junior retro-gaming enthusiasts? The eleven year old sat a couple of rows in front of me started playing with the seat next to him about forty minutes in and no one said anything, like a silent acknowledgement that we felt his boredom and why not let him take his mind off it.
It’s a film without purpose and because of that it’s also a film without imagination or heart. Nice CGI and a decent central conceit wasted.