Would it be shocking to say that this movie is terrible? It’s essentially a middle finger extended towards the low hanging fruit of video gaming culture that Sony Pictures can only see the words “brand recognition” in. With the help of their Angel of Death, Adam Sandler, it proves that you can take, at the very least, a visually interesting idea, and utterly drive said idea six feet under through abysmal writing, a near-total disregard for plot continuity, and an assembly of recognisable faces just appearing utterly disinterested in what they are doing on screen. From Sandler’s own “attempts” at insult comedy at the expense of EVERY OTHER CHARACTER in the film, to supporting actor Peter Dinklage with a mullet and some kind of white Jamaican affectation, this movie is just not funny. There is no cleverness in its concept, and for a children’s film there are some surprisingly dark and uneasy elements to it (Josh Gad’s lustful fixation after a female videogame character, the culmination of which is even more disturbing).
It’s not that the movie is even something to be offended by, if you’re the kind of person that is willing to watch and review it afterwards. It feels more pathetic than anything else. Adam Sandler is desperately unfunny in this film, but what is the real motivation behind making this? Is he so enamoured with his tired routine of celebrating the 80s and nostalgia, all the way down to the arcade gaming alongside licensed Cheap Trick and Queen songs that could be taken from any other of his movies (80s-themed party in Grown Ups 2, anyone?), that he’s only really invested if he’s being projected onto the character he’s playing? Is it multi-million dollar escapism for him? I hesitate to use the word “character” here, but even throughout his other recent films he’s almost untouchable, and that’s kind of sickening. The roles he plays allow him to go from the hedonistic man-child who has barely any repercussions from society, to the successful and rich family man with barely any character flaws because he’s married to Salma Hayek or whoever else is out of any mortal man’s league. Overall though, don’t even bother seeing this, even if you already knew for yourself.