The Emoji Movie

The tender relationship between a boy and his phone

Y ou will believe a boy can text. You may not believe anything else. Gee, here was a bad idea for a film, huh? Not only does The Emoji Movie rewrite Inside Out for a much dumber audience, there’s a subtle vibe behind the film that we aren’t paying enough attention to our phones. Yeah, our smart phones need more face time. What are you supposed to do after The Emoji Movie, sit down and have a heart-to-heart with WhatsApp? “Oh, hey, look, I know how hard it is to be the letter ‘e.’ Why don’t you takz a load off whilz I usz lzttzr ‘z’ instzad.”

Gene (voice of T.J. Miller) is a Meh icon. A bad one.  A naturally high-strung bit of code, Gene’s ability to ‘Meh’ on demand is problematic at best.  Actually, he’s the son (?) of two Meh icons. (Jennifer Coolidge and Steven Wright. For whatever else you might think of this film, Steven Wright as a Meh icon is a brilliant piece of casting.) Today is Gene’s day to take over the family business. He assumes a place among his “peers” and prepares for action. If, Alex, the smartphone teenage owner, orders up a Meh, Gene’s gotta be there in all his mediocre glory. I’m not sure what it matters as any kid into the :poop: icon probably isn’t making the most of Meh. Did I mention Patrick Stewart voices the poop icon? Do I even need a joke here?

Pretend this next part is being read in the Steven Wright monotone, because that’s exactly what it deserves: suddenly, gene is called into action. feeling the need for abuse from the middle schoolers, alex texts a girl he’s fond of. but gene isn’t prepared to make meh-ry. alex’s icon turns out as a gif of facial contortions. oh no. what a disaster. what will happen next in gene’s facist little text world?

I fell asleep in The Emoji Movie. Twice. I regret nothing. I missed Gene’s romantic meet cute. I wish there were an icon to describe exactly how I felt about this “failure.” Like, an icon that aggressively says, “I don’t care,” but even more briefly, as if I barely cared enough to even send the icon … something that encapsulates an entire gauntlet of ambivalence in one stupid facial expression. But where would I locate such a thing? Forget it. Don’t care any more.

Geez, kid, why can’t you just sext like everybody else your age and maybe spice this pic up a bit?

I find myself currently in the awkward position of defending The Emoji Movie despite having no love for it. The Emoji Movie is currently polling it 1.7 on imdb which puts it below the worst of the worst, well beyond the MST3K subject barrier. Citizens, this is as bad as it gets?! Oh, you spoiled, spoiled children. Have you never seen a film by Tyler Perry? Dinesh D’Souza? Uwe Boll? Michael Bay just hit us with a worthless, mirthless, Firthless fourth Transformers sequel. Do you honestly see anything redemptive within that? No, I’m serious. I’d much rather subject myself to Emoji a second and third time. The Emoji Movie is W compared to Trump. Oh, it’s a pile of crap and a serious mistake, but –obviously- you can do waaaaaay worse.

Now don’t make me back this horrible film any further; the one positive thing I take from it is that I use icons too often in my texting. Use your words, Jim. Use your words.

Bringing Emojis to life? What a coup!
But the results are not flattering, true
With all the malice
And reviews so callous
Might it now love being called “number two?”

Rated PG, 86 Minutes
D: Tony Leondis
W: Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White
Genre: :the finger:
Type of person most likely to enjoy this film: “He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil.”
Type of person least likely to enjoy this film: imdb voters

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