There’s an emoji that sums up critical reaction to “The Emoji Movie.” You can probably guess which one.
The newly released film, playing at UA Arden Fair 6 in the Sacramento area, has a 3 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a site that aggregates critic and fan reviews. (In case it’s not clear, that’s bad. Really, really bad. The critically acclaimed “Dunkirk,” by comparison, has a 93 percent “fresh” rating.)
On Metacritic, another film review aggregation site, “The Emoji Movie” scored a 9. Out of 100.
The Sony Pictures Animation comedy takes place in Textopolis, a world inside a smartphone inhabited by emojis, with voice-acting by T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Stewart (as, what else, a poop emoji) and Maya Coolidge.
Critics began weighing in on “The Emoji Movie” on Thursday, the eve of its official Friday release, and the scathing headlines might be more fun than the film. ScreenCrush scored with “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Poop Emoji,” while The Wrap says “There Are No Words.”
The common denominator in most reviews seems to be “meh,” but here are some of the other critiques:
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush: It would be fitting if there were no words to describe The Emoji Movie; if the ephemeral experience of consuming this unique entertainment could only be summarized in a couple of small pictures dashed off in a text message. But, no, there are plenty of words that can describe The Emoji Movie. Here are a few of them: Unfunny. Saccharine. Nonsensical. Painful. And, of course, crappy. (If you prefer the poop emoji, that works too.)
Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com: Now comes “The Emoji Movie,” a film that dares to ask “What goes on in the magical worlds contained within our cell phones?,” a notion that I do not think that anyone has ever pondered for any amount of time outside of those stuck in a focus group at Sony Animation. That is only the first of many problems with this film, a work so completely devoid of wit, style, intelligence or basic entertainment value that it makes that movie based on the Angry Birds app seem like a pure artistic statement by comparison.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: What’s next: “Automated Siri Voice When You’re Put On Hold: The Movie”?
Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times: There could be far worse ways to spend 86 minutes. But maybe, just maybe, it’d be the better choice to spend those 86 minutes outside, or reading a book, or talking face-to-face with another human being. Because The Emoji Movie could not be more meh.
Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press: There are five stages of grief in preparing to watch “The Emoji Movie.” The first is denial that this actually exists. The second is anger that now even storytelling has been reduced to those reductive blobs. The third is bargaining that, hey, they made “The Lego Movie” work against all odds so maybe some smart folks actually pulled this off. The fourth is depression that all movies ideas are just doomed to confuse “brands” for “ideas.” And the fifth is acceptance that, yes, of course that’s where we’re headed so let’s pull up a seat and make the most of it.
Glenn Kenny, The New York Times: For a long time, Hollywood has been propagating the idea that the panderingly, trendily idiotic can be made to seem less so, by polishing it up with bright shiny gloss and enlisting engaging talented performers and writers. I can’t be entirely certain of this, but I would say “The Emoji Movie” takes this notion to the outer limits of credibility.
Charles Bramesco, The Guardian: Children should not be allowed to watch The Emoji Movie.Their impressionable brains simply aren’t set up to sift through the thick haze of corporate subterfuge clouding every scene of this sponsored-content post masquerading as a feature film.
Sandy Schafer, Screen Rant: Save for the rare exception (see how the movie portrays music and sound effects in Spotify), The Emoji Movie offers little in the way of eye candy that is more interesting to look at than, well, your actual phone.