Whenever Sandler plays a man-child (like his character in Pixels), he almost always does a piss-poor job with it. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Little Nicky, The Waterboy: some of those movies might be good, but Sandler’s performance isn’t. But Pixels was especially grating because Adam Sandler is now an old man, so it’s more painful when he tries to act like a big kid. Twenty years ago, it was alright for Sandler to pull his “I don’t want to grow up. I want to get drunk and cause funny havoc!” shtick. Now, at fifty, whenever he tries it, all you can say is “Yeah, that’s cool, but where are the bodies?”
That’s why he should stop doing that and only play actual adults from now on, and not just people that are adults in the sense that they have more pubic hair than the rest of the cast. And also because he’s really good at it, like in Hotel Transylvania where he voices Count Dracula being overprotective of his daughter.
There is real nuance to his performance there. While he is alone with his daughter, he’s sweetness itself, especially when he’s teaching her to turn into a bat and becomes so beautifully giddy after she succeeds. But there’s always this under-layer of fear and dread in his voice because he doesn’t want her going out into the human world where his wife was MURDERED. The scene where he talks about the night it happened is absolutely gut-wrenching. It’s leaps and bounds above anything where his main character descriptor is “Shouts at Rob Schneider.”