The Emoji Movie (REVIEW)
I'm lucky in that I do not have to see every movie that comes out, this is not that kind of site. Which works for me when I don't have to sit through things like the Pirates or Transformers franchise. I was not asked to do a review for this, in fact Justin felt sorry for me that I decided to see it anyway. But I did because I was curious and I had hope that MAYBE it wouldn't be terrible and there would be some decent laughs here and there. Thankfully, I didn't blow my brains out.
It's colorful and goes by at a decent pace. The main idea is poorly executed in that kids love emojis and using words isn't cool anymore, if you are going to text someone the coolest thing you can do is say it with emojis. no one has time for words or thoughts, just rapid fire emoji texts. The movie plays out as a boy tries to figure out how to talk to a girl and all the while weird things are happening to his phone as TJ Miller tries to get himself put on the top row of the emoji list. Someone pointed it out that it plays like Inside Out, the only difference being it isn't very good. Instead of it being that the emotions inside Riley are affecting her on the outside but in a way consistent with how she is feeling, it just happens and makes the kid want to reset his phone.
The only things that really struck me as enjoyable was the casting of Stephen Wright as the father "meh" emoji, something he was kind of born to play. Also at the start I tried to picture that the movie was actually narrated by Erlich Bachman from Silicon Valley because it sounded like a weird sales pitch he would try to spin in a board meeting. The world even looked similar to the opening credits shot from the show and made me think how amazing it would be to see an animated movie with the Silicon Valley characters.
Unfortunately those two things wear off and what we are left with is kind of a dumb movie that has almost no heart, aside from TJ Miller's Meh, everyone is supposed to be one emotion. you know how people complain about movies with one dimensional characters? This is exactly that. It's a movie populated with them and they all make the most obvious jokes about themselves throughout the movie. James Cordon, with all this quirks has his worst ones on display in the film, going full annoying sidekick playing up his most try hard self. Sir Patrick "stunt cast" Stewart as the Poop emoji has a few poop related lines and you would think kids would love that, they love a good poop joke, and yet none of the kids in my theatre laughed.
There was maybe one or two times I thought a joke was decently clever like the devil trying to sell time shares but mostly it was the most baseline, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of how this Emoji would act. In addition they rather forcefully put in references meant for the adults in the audience that were just weird.
I don't like to tear movies apart too often, I don't think it's fair or worth my time even. I didn't try to think of where the film went wrong, I just know that I didn't really care about the characters, having the parents be literally "meh" to their son except when they make jokes repeatedly stating their emotions in contrast to how they speak (because that is hilarious 6-7 times in a 90 minute movie). What this film tries to say is that it is OK to be different and express more emotions than what society tells you. That's a cool message. There is some attempt at gender roles etc, but everyone else is so blah that you don't really care too much. It was clearly an excuse to cash in on a zeitgeist-y thing that the kids could go and see in the summer. Something light and silly, but it was all wrapped up in a complete lack of a story.
I couldn't find anything to actively hate about the movie, I never got mad at how stupid it was, it was just sort of not interesting. It adds nothing new to the world, It was literally what if Emojis could talk what would they say? They say it and that's about it. Then there are some app jokes that are as equally on the nose. It was another case of Hollywood-izing tech. Just super cringy stuff. Characters were bland and aside from some needle drops that helped liven the mood a bit it was a pretty dull affair, despite all the colors.