Yes, The Emoji Movie is one of the least inspired movies of the year. Yes, The Emoji Movie already feels outdated, with its faddish app name dropping. No, The Emoji Movie is not one of the worst movies of all time, though at what childish demographic it is aimed is anybody’s guess.
Set in the phone of a ninth-grade boy named Alex, The Emoji Movie follows meh emoji Gene (v. T.J. Miller, who performs admirably despite the movie’s insipidness) on his quest to only display one emotion. He is joined by former emoji VIP Hi-5 (v. James Corden) and a hacker named Jailbreak (v. Anna Faris). Sadly, Sir Patrick Stewart is credited as Poop, because it is funny that the poop emoji sounds like a regal Brit.
Meh makes a good protagonist, as it is hard to feel anything about his world. Were the human sequences live-action and Alex a few years younger, The Emoji Movie would not seem like such a poorly aimed vehicle for app promotion. Younger kids might find the multicolored smartphone world appealing, but the high end of middle school seems like the hard cutoff. I will admit to getting perverse enjoyment via noting how poorly so much of this already-stale flick will age.
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