You knew it was going to happen sooner or later – an aspect of our everyday habits made into a movie. And Sony was the studio that dove in and did it.
“The Emoji Movie” opens this weekend, and critics aren’t too happy about it.
As one put it: “This failed attempt to create a story from a texting trend makes the worst comic book adaptation look like Shakespeare.”
The animated movie starring T.J. Miller as Gene, the “meh” emoji, who goes on an adventure in a teen’s phone, received the dreaded 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here’s why the movie is one of the worst-reviewed of the year (which will either make you run as fast as you can from the multiplex or motivate you even more to see it):
It’s a rip-off of Pixar’s “Inside Out.”
The movie’s premise of a pair of rogue emojis setting out to find meaning and purpose isn’t all that original. It has similar beats to the better-executed Pixar movie, “Inside Out,” which followed the journey of a girl’s emotions.
Or as Variety called it, a “witless ‘Inside Out.'”
While on the subject of the movie’s deeper meaning, Vulture wrote: “There is a mumbled, shorthand moral about staying true to yourself in all this, but it is drowned out by the wall-to-wall cynicism that is ‘The Emoji Movie”s entire reason for existing in the first place.”
The movie has no shame in also being a Sony commercial.
Licensing is always an issue in movies about technology, and though you’ll see familiar things from your own phone in “The Emoji Movie” – like Candy Crush, Spotify, and Facebook – there’s also some shameful highlights of Sony products (seriously, who has a Crackle app on their phone?).
“Vertically integrated product placement is to be expected, though the movie’s most egregious plausibility-breaking move is that it takes place on a Sony smartphone; these emojis are halfway between Droid-designed purgatory and their vastly more popular Apple variants,” wrote The AV Club.
Even Patrick Stewart as the poop emoji can’t save the movie.
That’s right. Sir Patrick Stewart voices the poop emoji. Which seems funny on the surface, but all it did was remind reviewers that the emoji exists, and they made sure to include it in their tweets about how much they hated the movie.
The other known names voicing emojis – T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, and Maya Rudolph – also didn’t bring much satisfaction.
ScreenCrush wrote: “Miller might be down to get paid globally for the role of Gene, but he doesn’t bring a ton of personality to the role, which is kind of a problem since Gene’s whole character is based on the fact that he’s supposed to have a ton of personality. Corden gives a high-energy performance as Hi-5, but his material is thumbs-down emoji. His main running gag is a brutally literal one; his character keeps puking up a candy corn and eating it over and over.”
It’s just plain idiotic.
Sure, we weren’t expecting much from an emoji movie, but in a world where Pixar gives animated movies that can generate a bigger visceral feeling from audiences than most live-action dramas, and Legos have created a money-making franchise, this movie had to come stronger.
Or as The New York Times put it: “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.”