‘The Emoji Movie’ was written and directed by Tony Leondis, previously known for directing 2008’s ‘Igor’ as well as the direct-to-video sequels to ‘Lilo and Stitch’ and ‘Emperor’s New Groove’. (Photo Courtesy of Colombia Pictures)
There are a lot of bad movies out there, and “The Emoji Movie” is the worst kind of bad movie. It may be a cavalcade of “How did anyone think this was a good idea?” questions, but it is ultimately lackluster, uninspired, and has nothing special about it.
Within an app on a kid named Alex’s (Jake T. Austin) smartphone, a meh emoji with more than one emotion named Gene (T.J. Miller) screws up when he is selected for a text message by not making a meh face. This results in Gene fleeing from the emoji app to get reprogramed so that he will only have his intended emotion.
With a premise like that, you’ve probably already realized you’ve seen this movie before. “The Emoji Movie” is one of the most cliché children’s movies ever made: a social outcast with an idiosyncrasy goes on a mission to change, but instead learns to accept themselves. Toss in an unsupportive parental figure and the lowest of the low attempts at comedy and voila, you have “The Emoji Movie.” Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of children’s movies will be able to predict the outcome by, at longest, the end of the first act.
The movie is not just cliché, it is extremely lazy. The movie relies on forced and illogical problems in order for there to even be a plot. Gene is able to express a multitude of emotions, but he is also able to do the meh emotion, so why can’t he just do the meh emotion for the two seconds that it’s required? The answer is simple: the movie needs to happen and this is the easiest way to get it started.
The laziness also shows with the movie’s humor, which is about twenty percent jokes and eighty percent “funny” things that happen. Let’s just say that if the pinnacle of your movie’s humor is Sir Patrick Stewart playing the poop emoji while making a bunch of poop puns, things need to be rethought.
A sign that your movie is going to be bad, which “The Emoji Movie” demonstrates continually through its 86 minute runtime, is that the movie has no clue who its target audience is supposed to be. The aesthetics are colorful and animated and the humor is very pedestrian, which points to a younger audience. However, most of the movie’s references and a good number of the jokes are aimed at Internet things like Facebook and online trolls, which would point to an older demographic for the movie. The tone of the movie is aimed towards young kids while all of the jokes are aimed at teenagers, thus making this a movie for no one.
“The Emoji Movie” is not the worst movie ever made. It’s terrible, don’t get me wrong, but calling it the worst movie ever would imply that the makers tried anything more than taking overused story elements and doing them in the worst way possible.
Final Grade: F