The Sims. The Movie.

Well. You win, Hollywood.

Just when I'd started to think I'd numbed to all of this, that I'd lost the capacity to be surprised or taken aback anymore by the ever-thickening oslaught of nigh-offensively-ludicrous-sounding remake and adaptation rumors spilling unflaggingly from Tinseltown like effluent from a suppurating boil, the suits at Fox kick down my door, throw me to the ground, and, giggling maniacally, staple this to my face. (All figuratively speaking, of course. Shoo, libel suit. Shoo.) I'm still scratching my head -- I really only half-believe it.

Nice to see I've still got some innocence left.

So, really: The Sims, huh? Hmm. Well, I s'pose the numbers and the fan base are there, at least: Apparently, it's (still) the best-selling PC game in the history of ever. Which, presumably, is all the reason the (purely metaphorical) door-kickers need.

I'm really sort of struggling to make this fit inside my noggin, though. My experience with the Sims franchise is more or less limited to the time my little brother was sort of trying it out while I was home visiting for some holiday or other, and he installed it on my slow-ass laptop, and I fell asleep trying to build and furnish my Sim-house. (I tried it again a few times, but inevitably decided that it just represented far too much of a time commitment.) Don't get me wrong: I understand the appeal; I just don't have room in my life for yet another time-sucking enterprise with few immediately evident real-world benefits. And I guess I always sort of figured the core young-male-gamer market would get bored and forsake it.

At any rate, isn't the very kernel of The Sims more or less firmly planted in a sense of player-guided plotlessness, in any fixed sense? If that's the case (and I certainly got that feeling), then Fox may have its work cut out for them. The combination of a free-form approach to story arc with a relatively mundane setting and event palette doesn't seem to make for a surefire home-run with the public -- gaming or otherwise.

To that end, the project has been handed to Brian Lynch (he wrote something called Big Helium Dog, which I haven't seen, but ... um ... well, check Imdb's bottom-of-the-page "If you enjoyed this title" recommendations) and producer John Davis (Norbit, When A Stranger Calls, Eragon).

HMMMMMM.

Variety has The Sims studio head Rod Humble saying the game is a natural for the jump to "traditional storytelling," as it deals with "an old story, which is what it's like to have infinite power and how do you deal with it." So, then, the movie's focused on the gamer? I mean, sure, a Truman Show-ish symbolic examination of free will and concepts of religion is new and interesting ground for a video-game adaptation, but are we talking like an Indian in the Cupboard thing, with talking CGI Sims and real actors? Sheesh.

I mean, I wanna see how it turns out and all, but I really just don't know whom this is going to attract.

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Brian Villalobos lives in Austin, Texas (practically), writes on film and TV, and totally cried at Stuart Little.

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