By Bill Arceneaux
Outside of an appearance on the show 30 Rock and a lead role in The Station Agent, I haven’t seen Peter Dinklage in a whole lot of media. Because of this, I will base my opinion on his acting solely on his role in the new Happy Madison production Pixels.
Yes, I dare to do this.
Playing the character of Eddie Plant, a pompous and cocksure former Arcade video game champion, I’ve learned that, for Dinklage: 1. No performance is beneath him. 2. You must always keep your mind open to diverse jobs. 3. There is no excuse for lack of commitment.
As Plant, Dinklage doesn’t go Michael Sheen in Twilight over the top, though he easily could have. Despite little to work with in terms of script and other actors, Dinklage goes for a measured smarmy; someone who hasn’t been told that he’s way past his prime. It’s not necessarily a rich character, just a richly done performance. In a movie about alien video games attacking Earth. Made by Adam Sandler.
Peter Dinklage gives himself, heart and soul, to Pixels. Why couldn’t Adam Sandler?
Based on a plotless short film of the same name and similar climax, Pixels in its feature film form is an insufferable experience. Adam Sandler essentially just woke up one morning, walked to set in whatever brightly colored cargo shorts and loose fitting shirt he could find in his laundry basket, and rambled off dialogue in a sarcastically nihilistic manner. Whenever he is on screen saying and doing something, he sucks the energy from everyone around him. More than a black hole, he is a vampire. And he must feed.
Arcade game nostalgia mixed with occasional and near blasphemous poopy pants humor—Q*bert peeing himself and being terrified at the sight of fake blood, for one—with a soundtrack straight from Sandler’s childhood (as always), Pixels has no joy in it whatsoever. Look at the Futurama episode with the similar premise. Look at Ghostbusters. Look at the currently in production Ghostbusters female remake. All made (and being made) with cleverness, all made (and being made) with fun.
This movie was made in the same vein as someone vacuuming their home. As a chore.
There have been and will be far worse films released this year, but none that suck so much. Literally suck. Suck up air, happiness, will to live, even bits of blood if you’re not careful. Slowly but surely, Happy Madison is becoming the new late in life National Lampoons, known for lazy, lethargic and cheap “comedies.” Except for one difference:
Sandler’s giant middle finger.
At least Dinklage got a paycheck. At least Dinklage got to spread his wings a bit more. Thank goodness for Dinklage.
1 / 5 *s
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