The Emoji Movie
by George Wolf
I don’t pretend to understand the emoji game, but I do know that getting Patrick Stewart to voice the poop seems like a classy way to go.
But the star of The Emoji Movie is Gene (T.J. Miller), a young “meh” emoji ready for his first day on the job in teenager Alex’s smartphone.
Gene wants to emote more feelings than just “meh,” so things don’t go well, and he’s quickly labeled as a malfunction and targeted for deletion. With the help of a “high five” fixated on his glory days (James Corden), Gene runs for his life in search of the legendary hacker “Jailbreak” (Anna Faris) who might be able to get them all to freedom in a valhalla known as the cloud.
Director/co-writer Tony Leondis (Lilo & Stitch 2, Igor) pinches the secret world from Toy Story with the run through technology of Inside Out to present an adventure just clever enough to remind you how much potential was disregarded. The idea is timely and probably inevitable, but never developed much beyond pleasant time-waster status.
It’s rarely more than amusing, the visuals can’t rise above average, and the “be true to yourself” mantra is entirely generic.
There is a big dance number, though, which inexplicably doesn’t involve Stewart.