Movie Review: The Emoji Movie is an Emotional Mess

Movie Review: The Emoji Movie is an Emotional Mess
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Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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In the modern, developed world where so many people are addicted to their phones and the nauseating language of IM texting and emojis, there isn’t a more irritating set up for a Hollywood story than these cutesy, shallow icons. Even still, Sony’s The Emoji Movie is even worse than anyone expected it to be.

Right from the start, nearly everything in the agonizing 86 minutes showcases a lazy, uninteresting story. Unfunny jokes from a team of stale writers, too many insipid subplots and ugly (or downright gross) character designs all sink the picture.

Worst of all is a childish and shallow (albeit creative and unique) vision from director Antony Leondis. He has two other awful animated features to his resumé; was anyone really expecting high quality from the director of flops like Igor and Lilo and Stitch 2?

The main plot focuses on a “meh” emoji named Gene (T.J. Miller) who lives inside a teenage boy’s smartphone. He gets in trouble for making the wrong face, and goes on a quest through different apps on the phone to regain the trust of his peers.

Here’s another word of warning: if you aren’t sure what an app, smartphone, emoji or “meh” is, don’t let anyone try and explain them to you in advance. Stay far, far away from this movie and stop reading right here.

Photo: Sony Animation.

I’ll admit the movie is well produced, with clean animation and bright colours that are occasionally interesting to watch. But it gets sunk almost instantly by a revolting script that had me painfully cringing in my seat on cue every ten minutes or so.


What concerns me the most, however, is the movie’s target audience. The whimsy of emojis and simple story clearly mean this movie is for kids and kids alone. But the film has themes of only popularity mattering and texting being the only way people will listen to or care about you.

Those are some really toxic and negative things for kids to be seeing on screen, so I can’t recommend this corrosive family comedy to anybody. It’s not appropriate for families, and it’s certainly not a comedy. The attempted focus about emotional health makes the movie feel like a knockoff of Inside Out.

Between an unenthusiastic cast, short run time, and an unfunny premise, the film is just hard to watch and much harder to enjoy. There’s also enough product placement for apps, businesses, characters, and brands the whole thing might as well be a 90-minute Apple commercial.

The only bigger waste of money than buying a ticket to The Emoji Movie might be paying the $3.00 surcharge for you to see it in 3D. Paying even a cent for this pathetic display of family entertainment would be a load of [poop emoji].

The Emoji Movie
1 out of 4 stars

G, 86 minutes. Animated Family Comedy.
Written and Directed by Antony Leondis.
Starring T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph and Patrick Stewart.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.


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