Featuring The Voices Of: TJ Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Coolidge, Steven Wright, Patrick Stewart, Sofia Vergara, Christina Aguilera, Sean Hayes, and Jake T Austin.
Directed By: Tony Leondis
Plot: Gene (Miller) is a Meh emoji, but has the capability to express other emotions. This causes him to be kicked out of Emoji-town, and he bounces around from app-to-app with High Five (James Corden) trying to find Jailbreak (Faris) so they can get back in.
What Works: I’ll admit I was one of those people who saw the first trailer for The Emoji Movie and thought… “why in hell…”, and I’ve been thinking that the whole time. I avoided it in theatres because I was convinced this film wasn’t worth 10 bucks. That’s true. It’s not. However, it’s not a terrible film. In fact, like its main emoji, I felt mostly “meh” after the movie was done. There are some clever moments, and some not-so-clever moments. It’s a mixed bag. I didn’t mind the brutal product placement. I actually thought there was some ingenuity in showing how each of these apps would work internally to these Emojis. The most creativity was shown in the Spotify and Dropbox apps, I think. Candy Crush was a bit of a cop out. This film borrows from a lot of other films. There’s some Wreck It Ralph here for sure, as well as some Inside Out, and even possibly a little bit of Trolls thrown in for good measure. However, unlike Trolls, this film embraces the idea that it is OK to be unique in the end. The film never forces Gene to change who he is, it’s about everyone else learning to accept that who he is is perfectly fine. The voice talent here is pretty good, probably with James Corden being a standout for me.
What Doesn’t Work: I thought the Candy Crush scene was a bit too much for me. The other apps didn’t feel like product placement. Of course there’s a Facebook app on the phone. Of course there’s a Twitter app, and a Spotify app. I’m not so sure a teenager would need Dropbox, but I’ll assume it’s for homework. Candy Crush had its day, plus the scene is played almost like its a tutorial to how the actual game is played. The other scenes in different apps aren’t how those apps function, but Candy Crush stuck right to how the app functions for some reason. Also, I didn’t like the reveal of who Jailbreak was, because it felt like a copout. Sure, she explains it, but then nothing else is every really said or done about it. If she had turned out to be a “malfunction” like Gene, that would have felt way more organic. I also hate films that end in dance sequences, and lets face it, that’s basically a dance sequence.
Final Word: I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it either. It’s just a so-so movie. Your kids might enjoy it. It’s short. It’s colorful. It’s mostly fun, at least for them.
Final Grade: C+