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Pixels | 2015 | PG-13 | - 4.4.4

A NASA time capsule sent into space riles alien ire and brings back an all-out war on Earth in the form of giant 1980s video game characters. The US President (Kevin James) enlists the help of a gaming pal (Adam Sandler) and his vintage video gamers (Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad) to fight the aliens. Also with Michelle Monaghan, Brian Cox, Ashley Benson and Jane Krakowski. Directed by Chris Columbus. A few lines of dialogue in Hindi are accompanied by English subtitles and a few fake Japanese sentences have no translation. [1:45]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - Two sets of men and women kiss passionately in two scenes each. A husband and his wife kiss each other for a second with their faces covered in yellow cake frosting while decorating a cake together. A man meets a video game character in a battle with other life sized gaming characters and she becomes real; they kiss passionately for several seconds. A short spherical Q-bert character with a pipe-like nose shakes and stretches, becoming a woman wearing a skimpy dress; she and a man kiss for several seconds and during the end credits a photo appears of them dressed as bride and groom and the camera pans to a crib containing 5 tiny jumping Q-berts, suggesting the couple had children.
 A man at a party sings and dances, then lies face down on the floor to attempt the "inch worm" move and looks like he is thrusting his pelvis into the floor in a sexual movement; other people stare at him, amused.
 A woman appears at a formal ball wearing a floor length gown that reveals cleavage and a bare leg from the ankle to the top of the thigh in a long skirt slit; a man says that he will please her sexually and she says if he touches her, she will knock him through a wall. A woman appears in a bedroom window and wearing a short dress waves to a man on the lawn below as another woman also waves to the man; he looks surprised and rushes off screen and it is implied that he is going to the bedroom. As a child, a boy falls in love with a female character in a video game and she is shown wearing a short dress that reveals bare legs up to the upper thighs and cleavage; as an adult, he has several lit candles on an altar in his bedroom along with her picture and he shows a friend a cartoon flipbook that he made in which he and the woman are married, kiss while seated on a sofa, and he removes his shirt to show his chest and abdomen. A woman wears a strapless dress and we see her bare shoulders and arms as a man across the room and his wife stare at her and he says, "She's a 10." A woman says that her husband made her a mug that says, "World's Sexiest Prime Minister." A TV screen briefly shows a woman wearing a bikini top and we see some cleavage and her navel above the top part of her trousers. Two women enter a gaming competition wearing small crop tops with leather slacks and high heels that bare their midriffs, arms and the slacks accentuate their hip curves. A banquet and dance scene features women wearing low-cut ball gowns that reveal cleavage and a few bare shoulders. Women in a TV exercise program wear clingy biker shorts and sports bras that reveal bare arms, some cleavage and legs.
 A man finds a woman crying in a closet and tells her that he learned that his fertility doctor was having sex with his wife, so he divorced her; the man nearly kisses the crying woman, but she stops him. A man kisses a male friend on each cheek for "goodbye" and begins to kiss him on the lips, but the man says, "No." A man talks to two other men and slaps them on the posterior; the men stare at him in an irritated manner as he walks on. A young boy tells an appliance installer that his dad divorced his mom for a 19-year-old female Pilates instructor and when the installer meets the mom he says, Whoa!" and then explains that she is very attractive. A felon making a deal with the government demands a rendezvous in a White House bedroom with a female tennis star and a well-known TV cook and decorator. A man meets a woman and says, "You smell nice, like the Book of Genesis"; in another scene, another man calls her "sugar buns" and she looks at him angrily. Two men talk about female movie stars and state that each one is "hot."


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - In three battle scenes, military and civilian men and women fight aliens that look like giant video game characters by shooting them with light cannons that emit particle beams to disintegrate the creatures.
 At night, glowing video game mushrooms descend from the sky and hang in the air in columns as large centipedes with angry dragon faces crawl quickly down through them and one dragon face roars and shows large fangs as it rushes toward the camera; men and one woman on the ground fire light-beam cannons at the centipedes causing some of the creatures to divide into two creatures, and many of the creatures disintegrate; one creature swallows a shouting man as another creature escapes, rushes along a street and crashes cars that pixelate and fall apart while another centipede crashes through a glass door and wall to enter a hotel lobby and rushes into an apartment followed by a man on foot who disintegrates the centipede with a beam of light causing the creature to change into a small dog that is harmless and serves as a sign from aliens that the game is over.
 At night, hundreds of small, glowing UFOs descend from the sky and fly along a highway, melting a large street sign as we see a military headquarters where a leader calls out, "We're under attack!" and hundreds of small UFOs descend and pixelate part of the building, bursting in through loudly shattering glass and piling up on the floors as large glowing cubes (pixels); through a hole in a wall, we see tall fires like bonfires glowing as a man shoots a handgun into the sky and he turns to pixels as he screams and his pixels swirl up into the sky. A screaming man, a small screaming boy, and a team of three men and a woman (none scream) pixelate and stream up into the sky into a mother ship and appear unharmed in three separate scenes. A man and woman discuss marriage near the Taj Mahal and the building suddenly starts to pixelate, lightning strikes and it crumbles into cubes; the man screams and swirls into pixels and into the sky. A video game character disappears, disintegrating into pixels that swirl away and a man looks sad. A man talks to another man, who turns to show a large pointed glass dome on the back of his skull that contains gears, indicating that he is a robot. A woman shows two men a large cubic pixel that bounces and slams itself into the walls of its glass case and turns a pencil into yellow pixels before she shoots it with a particle beam and it becomes still.
 A video game character appears and then becomes a real person, although she does not talk and she kicks a man in the face, dropping him to the pavement, looking unharmed; she briefly swings two ninja swords at the man, but drops them and retrieves them to use against other game characters, pixelating hundreds of them as they fall into glowing cubes on sidewalks and streets. An extended fight scene among thousands of game characters occurs in Washington. DC, as the characters smash and pixelate buildings, cars, buses, newspaper vending machines and swallow a few screaming men and women while crowds of people run and scream, and Navy Seals and civilians fire light-beam cannons at the characters, pixelating some of them. A giant Max Headroom appears in the sky and calls a team of men and one woman into an alien mother ship, causing them to pixelate and swirl to the sky where they reappear unharmed inside a ship; there, the people participate in a giant game of Donkey Kong.
 A Q-bert character bounces off a trampoline and pixelates into a glowing pile of cubes on the floor, but reintegrates and is fine. In a giant game of Donkey Kong, a barrel smashes over a character and he is laid flat then pops back up after a minute, and large glowing barrels and fireballs roll toward him and two men and a woman, who jump over them; a man takes a glowing mallet and breaks several barrels, finally throws the hammer into the air and smashes a character into pixels to end the game and we see hundreds of gaming characters in the streets pixelate and disappear in glowing cubes that vanish.
 Four mini-cars act as ghosts against a giant Pac Mac sphere that gobbles cars on streets while the inventor of Pac Man tries to talk to the giant being, but it bites off his hand and we see the fingers and hand pixelate and disappear as he shouts in pain (we see the man later wearing a glove on that hand and in a scene on another day, his real hand grows back). Three giant Pac Man beings eat cars on several streets before "ghost" cars corner each one and smash into each to disintegrate it; a driver, who drives backwards into a parking garage and around a few floors, leads the final Pac Man into the garage and backs through a guardrail and into the air; the Pac Man follows, disintegrating in the air as the car lands safely on the pavement. A driver in a car rolls out of his driver side door after a Pac Man chomps the rear end of his vehicle and it pixelates; the man lies face up on the street, unharmed except for dirt smudges on his face. A driver drove off a short bridge and into a river, but he appears on the street, unharmed.
 A man hiding in the back of a van speaks to the driver who punches him so hard that he is thrown out of the back door and onto the pavement, appearing unhurt; the driver rushes forward with a ball bat, then recognizes the other man as an old friend who babbles about conspiracy theories.
 A boy on a bike rides close to a little girl and her lemonade stand, snatches the money jar off the table and she shouts, "Ogre!" A crowd outside a building shouts as the US President walks out; one man in the crowd shouts, "You are ruining our country!" as another man says that the President cannot read and men and women jeer. A night scene shows dozens of emergency vehicles with sirens sounding and lights flashing.
 In several scenes, a woman and a man argue with raised voices. An American man shouts loudly at a British woman saying that he does not understand a word she says. A woman cries in a closet and tells an appliance installer that she is divorced (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). An old military leader on the Joint Chiefs of Staff curses and shouts that Russia and Iran should be blown up; he also shouts, "Let's blow up Google!" A man screams very loudly at his grandmother who is off-screen and later, he yells at Navy Seals.
 A man says that he wants to throw up, but he does not do so. A Q-bert game character with two legs, no arms and a long pipe-like nose shakes in fear and urinates yellow liquid onto a wide metal beam under his feet; he says that he is scared and calls out, "Help me!" several times. A man instructing Navy Seals tells one of them that he will be scared in a mission and defecate in his pants and he should think of the man speaking as being in the Seal's pants; he stutters, embarrassed at his own suggestive comment, and walks away.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 3 scatological terms (one accompanied by a thought bubble containing "*#[email protected]!"), 6 anatomical terms, 25 mild obscenities (including 2 "Fugging" that almost sound like F-words spoken by a man with a thick Australian accent), name-calling (crazy, nuts, stupid, idiots, morons, dopey, yokel, buffoons, meathead, cracker, snob, snobby, stalky, sucker, blighters), exclamations (shut-up), 7 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh God, Thank God).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A few drugs are mentioned but not used or seen, two men look at a computer screen showing attacking aliens and one man asks hypothetically if hallucinogenic mushrooms were put into their food (he gets no reply), a man holds a bottle labeled Chloroform and he tells a male friend that he would have used it on the friend if the friend had refused to talk to the first man, a man says that a male friend was going to give him a rufie (date rape drug) but no drugs are used, and a man says in a Presidential meeting that the meeting making no sense and asks if it is a drug party (we see no drugs). A man and a woman sit on a closet floor and drink wine, a military leader tells a crowd of people in London at Hyde Park that an alien attack is just a beer commercial, in a British pub men and women hold glasses of beer (we do not see them drink), a man hands a pitcher of beer to a second man and he drinks from the pitcher, a man and a woman at a bar hold a crystal skull bottle of vodka and pour two shot glasses full and sip the vodka, a man on a TV screen holds a glass of champagne, at a banquet and dance men and women carry tall cocktails and short glasses of whiskey along with glasses of wine, and a woman on a balcony chugs a bottle of beer and exclaims, "Boo yah."


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - The value of "nerds" in society, cheating at video games, law breaking, infidelity, relationships, love, marriage, divorce, family, gender confusion, UFOs, alien life, communication, war, friendship, respect, courage, cooperation, redemption.

MESSAGE - The nerds and geeks people made fun of in school may save the world one day.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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