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Chris Columbus, as a director, has bounced around the spectrum, although he tends to give audiences movies that are heavy on manufactured whimsy (Mrs. Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man) or seemingly sure-fire adaptations (the first two Harry Potter movies and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) that never quite take off as they should in his hands.

So expectations might be lowered here with Pixels, a goofy summer lark starring Adam Sandler about an alien attack based on classic arcade games. Sandler’s name undoubtedly helped to rope in the likes of Kevin James, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad, but there’s a breezy nostalgic spirit of fun that must be credited to Columbus, if only for the fact that he doesn’t clutter the frames with extraneous details; Pixels is a simple story about video game nerds who get a chance to save the day. (PG-13) Grade: B