I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Even though this film falls within the sci-fi genre (even though it’s heavy on comedy), please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
Adam Sandler is struggling for relevance. In this film plays Brenner, a man who apexed in his teen years on video games, but now is nothing but mundane. Sandler is good at mundane, as his career has certainly prepared him for the role.
Kevin James is Cooper, a childhood friend of Brenner that has now become the President of the United States. As cool as that is, he still has close ties to is buddy which conveniently plays into the plot.
Peter Dinklage is Eddie, another former gamer from the 80’s who encapsulates the “bad boy” role in the film. His life has taken him on a path to prison , and it’s no surprise we learn later he was a cheater back in the day.
Josh Gad is Ludlow, another friend of Brenner and Cooper and former gamer. Of all the characters, I think the film was most kind to him. None of these roles goes any deeper than what I have just described so there really isn’t much to say about the “acting” in this film and the direction and script aren’t much better.
Back in the eighties, Brenner, Cooper, Ludlow, and Eddie were all video game gurus. The teenage years were the best and life couldn’t get any better. At the same time, video feeds being sent into space of these game is interpreted by an alien race as a declaration of war….which they respond to in the modern era with renditions of the game characters that spread chaos, turmoil and death.
Of course the logical response to this is to assemble all the former video game greats and outfit them with super military tech so they can save the planet by fighting the alien’s game armada on the designated terms (ala classic video game rules).
What happens next is a jumble of silliness wrapped up in special effects and sprinkled with one-liners.
It’s easy to pinpoint what has made this film suck…a bad script, and Adam Sandler. I don’t know if sander can do better, all I know is that he didn’t. I found it pathetic that he would have to chase past glory by using the same voice from “Happy Gilmore “ to say "Somebody's more important" in the tone of "Somebody's closer”. Perhaps Sandler should abandon comedy films altogether and try his hand at some serious roles. It worked for Vince Vaughn.
Kevin James and Peter Dinklage can do better…much better. Dinklage is a bonafide star and I can’t even begin to fathom why he would appear in this film. James has had recent “success” with the “Paul Blart” films, so again, he really didn’t need the low point this film created for him.
The idea of aliens using video game pixels to destroy Earth is already borderline dumb, but when the film can’t figure out if it wants to be a comedy or a science-fiction film, the only people that lose is the audience. If it had been genuinely funny (which it wasn’t) instead of just dumb, it might have been worth the time spent watching it.
The only redeeming quality of this film is the special effects…and they really aren’t that special. Perhaps if they took a more serious tone with them, they might have elevated the film more. Instead I had to settle for a few good lines from Josh Gad…a few choice peeks at Ashley Benson. Unfortunately, those high points were not enough to blast more than one and a half cinnamon sticks, in my cup of tea.
Rating 1.5 / 5