The Emoji Movie – Film Review
Director: Tony Leondis
Writers: Tony Leondis (screenplay), Eric Siegel (screenplay)
Stars: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris
As a reviewer, you always try to go into a film with an open mind. Unfortunately in this case, I had failed as I had already discovered two pieces of information. One was that it was currently cresting the wave of an 8% score on Rotten Tomatoes, which doesn’t exactly put pep in your step on the way into the cinema. The other was that this was battling Dunkirk for the top boxoffice earnings in the US this week. Those two facts make for strange bedfellows! From talking to friends and family, I knew that kids had already made up their minds about this film. They wanted to see it, regardless of any reviews and the reason was pretty clear; the talking poop! The love of all things scatological is something of a fascination for the pre-teen market, and this one is no different. If there was a film with talking faeces in it, it had to be seen!
This story does not focus on the poop and sadly he has a very minor role to play. With Patrick Stewart playing the part, it had the potential to be very funny. The film instead focuses on Gene (T.J. Miller), a young ‘meh’ emoji living in the phone of a high school student. When Gene is used in his first text, he fails in his role to perform a proper ‘meh’ face. This leads those in charge of the world of Textopolis, including Smiler (Maya Rudolph), to try to delete Gene. The young ‘meh’ sets out along with Hi-5 (James Corden) to find a hacker called Jailbreak (Anna Faris) who has the code that will fix Gene.
The real problem with this whole creation is that despite (or possibly because of) the complexity of the world, the gags just fail to arrive at the desired speed. We watch as the various characters move between the apps on their phone in search of their goal. The product placement is heavy, as we move from Facebook to Twitter and onwards to Youtube! You keep waiting for the funny lines, but they just don’t arrive.
I wonder how this film will last? Ten years ago we were mostly using Nokia 3310s. Will people look back at it in ten or fifteen years time and wonder what it was all about, as they plug their heads directly into the data-stream? It is certainly not a work of genius, nor a classic, but the critics have been overly cruel to it. My niece who loves all things cute really quite enjoyed it! My nephew who is slightly more street wise was disappointed, and left wondering what the fuss was all about. As an adult it’s fairly dull viewing, but no worse than most of those films aimed at the very young (4-7 year olds). They missed a trick with this one. The public demands talking poop! When will we get what we deserve?