The Emoji Movie Review

Dear God.

That was the first thing written on my emoji post-it notes (graciously provided, in addition to an emoji pencil, by my friend Nolan.) I initially had no plans of seeing this movie. Why would I watch it? It was either going to suck or be the most boring thing ever, so what would I gain from watching it? As it turned out, Nolan had three free movie tickets to a theater, and he asked me if I would go to The Emoji Movie with him. I got my brother, and we had the three tickets filled. We were ready to not pay a single dime to this movie. Somehow, the three of us expanded into eight, and we had a regular viewing party to see this movie. Some of you may ask, “Why?” I’ll tell you. We were all prepared to see something monumental. A movie about emojis? None of us could believe it. As we sat in our chairs for the 9:30 showing, we only saw two other people in the entire theater. We were ready to laugh at this movie’s awfulness. None of us expected what we got.

What we got was, without hyperbole or exaggeration, the single worst movie I have ever seen. I know at least one other person in our party agreed with me, and that makes this film all the more terrifying. The viewing of this movie was filled with looks of helpless disbelief, middle fingers thrown at the screen, noises of utter shock, and, most horrifying, no laughs. From what I can recall, no one laughed at a single joke in this entire movie. Granted, there were no children in the theater, but I don’t think children will laugh at this movie either. Your child will be awake during The Emoji Movie. That is the best I can say in terms of entertaining children.

Let’s get into specifics. To start, this movie always states everything outright. Nothing is left to interpretation or subtlety. One character literally says “I’m always happy” halfway through the movie in a room full of people who already know this. It’s too dumbed down, even for children. You don’t have to be Einstein to tell that a happy emoji will always be happy, or that a sad emoji will always be sad. Especially when the lead character illustrates this point in narration. The film is so intent on making sure that you know what’s happening that it becomes grating. Another thing this film does exceptionally poorly is social commentary and pop culture references. These go right along with my previous point, every comment on society is just said. There’s no visual gag, there’s no joke, this movie could be an audiobook and nothing would change.

As you may have noticed from the trailers, this movie looks awful. The character designs make me want to die. The animation is lazy and lacks style. The locations are uninspired and boring. The colors don’t pop, they all blend together in a lightly-colored soup that, rather than drawing your eyes in, seems to actively want you to look away. Does the plot make up for it? NO. This plot is the same thing you’ve seen in every other movie ever. While I was watching, I wondered if I had seen the movie before. Every beat is so predictable and tired that not even the movie seems enthused to tell this story. The writers certainly weren’t. As someone who’s written scripts before, I was befuddled at how anyone could read this script and say “Yep, that’s good.” They wrote in trolls (the Internet kind,) feminist riffs, commentary on teenagers, commentary on cell phone usage, characters saying hashtags out loud, numerous pop culture references that will be outdated within the next year, and all of it is done AWFULLY. I struggle to think of a single thing this movie does right. It doesn’t even understand how phones work! For a movie that takes place MOSTLY IN A PHONE, that is a cardinal sin.

I wish I had never seen this movie. I wish it never existed. I can’t think of another movie where I wanted to die more while watching. This movie was so awful it made me want to disappear. I didn’t speak more than ten words to my friends after I left the theater. I was just in shock. How did something like this get made? How was it not immediately thrown into the garbage, where it belongs?


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