Ignore that PG rating and keep your kids far away from this vile animated faux-comedy. Beneath its trippy surface lurks an insidious philosophy hazardous to impressionable minds. ‘The Emoji Movie’ rolls its eyes at thought, waving the flag for the decay of attention spans.
The sarcastic plot is set in Textopolis, a soul-numbing world that exists within a smartphone’s messaging app. It looks like an ugly knock-off of the elegant human brain design in ‘Inside Out’, with apps substituting for various neighborhoods and emojis filling in for emotions. The owner of the phone is young Alex, a nice kid we don’t really get to know. We instead follow the blah-faced ‘meh’ emoji, Gene (voiced by ‘Silicon Valley’ star TJ Miller), whose unlikely capacity for expression threatens the existence of his shrug-centric universe. In order to become a normal, functioning meh before Alex erases his phone, Gene joins forces with the avatar of a rogue hacker, Jailbreak (Anna Faris), as well as the upbeat emoji Hi-5 (James Corden), on a dangerous journey to the Cloud.
A game of Candy Crush and a cruise down Spotify are among the trio’s excruciatingly simplistic adventures that leave you alarmed about the filmmakers’ perception of human intelligence. Throwing in a ‘Casablanca’ reference and some lip service to feminism (‘Did you know female emojis could only be brides and princesses once upon a time?’) doesn’t really help in a movie that only wants to dumb us down. If you have to sit through it, remember to not take your anger out on your phone. This piece of 💩 isn’t worth it.