Like it or not, we have become a society of smartphone addicts — and we pay for it with ? like this is!
No one was expecting The Emoji Movie to be a masterpiece after learning it would follow defunct emojis trying to break out of a universe inside our smartphones.
But based on the reviews, the Sony Animation film is far worse than it’s main character, “Meh” (voiced by T.J. Miller) — and was actually better described as the throw-away character “Poop” (voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart).
Critics were not only diss-app-ointed by the story (which most described as a cheap rip-off of Inside Out), but the amount of product placement was enough to make any theater goer look like ?.
Jordan Hoffman, NY Daily News: “This failed attempt to create a story from a texting trend makes the worst comic book adaptation look like Shakespeare. The script is entirely predictable despite making absolutely no sense. It not only fails to entertain, it will leave you ?.”
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter: ” It is fast and colorful enough to attract young kids, but offers nearly nothing to their parents. If only this smartphone-centric dud, so happy to hawk real-world apps to its audience, could have done the same in its release strategy — coming out via Snapchat, where it would vanish shortly after arrival. But even that wouldn’t be fast enough.”
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: “The cartoon ideograms from your smartphone get their own animated adventure, but do they deserve it? Actually, they deserve better than this witless Inside Out knockoff.”
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush: “No animated movie outside the Cars franchise has raised more logistical questions about its strange setting than The Emoji Movie. Here is just one question I had: In one scene, Poop (and his son!) exit a restroom stall. When a sentient poop uses a toilet, what do they excrete? What is in a poop’s poop? On second thought, don’t tell me.”
Emily Yoshida, Vulture: “In the mock tradition of countless superior Pixar films before it, it’s attempting to sell a sense of childlike wonder and fascination with an ordinary, everyday object: your smartphone. And in doing so, it is one of the darkest, most dismaying films I have ever seen, much less one ostensibly made for children.”
Glenn Kenny, The New York Times: “For a long time, Hollywood has been propagating the idea that the panderingly, trendily idiotic can be made to seem less so, by polishing it up with bright shiny gloss and enlisting engaging talented performers and writers. I can’t be entirely certain of this, but I would say The Emoji Movie takes this notion to the outer limits of credibility.”
Lindsay Bahr, The Associated Press: “If you’re worried about whether or not this is some big smartphone advertisement, it only kind of is. There’s a whole journey through the Spotify app, and they have to get through a dance competition in the Just Dance app to get where they’re going, and there is a line that seems to have been written by marketing folks about how illegal malware can’t get into the protected DropBox app. Oh and while it’s not mentioned, the Sony-owned Crackle app is always on Alex’s home screen.”
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox: “Most likely, it was going to be a garbage fire. And now that I’ve seen it, I can confirm that suspicion: The Emoji Movie is a waste of time, resources, and a bunch of comedians’ voices, plus a premise that actually had the potential to do some small good in the world. It’s less of a movie and more of an insult.”
David Elrich, IndieWire: “How exciting to enter a film world in which all of the characters literally just tell us who they are over and over and over again like they’re not physical manifestations of the feelings that define them! The brilliant Maya Rudolph adds all sorts of passive-aggressive texture to Smiler, the homicidal smiley face who lords over this place, it’s just too bad that every single one of her lines is some variation of ‘can’t you see how happy I am?’ Yes, yes we can. Your body is a giant smile with legs.”
Vadmi Rizov, A.V. Club: “Central character Gene (T.J. Miller), the inexplicably named “meh” emoji, must go on a journey of self-discovery and learn to accept himself, which chimes with [director Tony Leondis‘s] own childhood, growing up gay in a religious household… After viewing the final product, Miller’s reasoning for making the movie sounds more believable: ‘Sony knows we down to get motherfucking paid globally.'”
[Image via Sony Pictures.]