The Emoji Movie review: TJ Miller bores in a steaming turd emoji of a film
Horrifically ill-conceived, poorly scripted, and a blatant native advertisement for apps I have subsequently deleted from my smartphone, The Emoji Movie is a cinematic abomination. It is the death of creativity, the murder of humour, and the celebration of pop culture banality all rolled into one. Ostensibly targeted towards children, it makes a strong case for its inclusion in child abuse laws.
To be clear, this movie doesn't have a single redeeming moment. Not one. And this is despite voice overs from legends like Patrick Stewart, pop icons like Christina Aguilera, and TV darlings like James Corden and TJ Miller. None of them could save this utter disaster of a movie, instead being irreversibly stained by this big screen botch.
In fact, Anna Faris' involvement in the movie is probably what ended her marriage to Chris Pratt.
The movie takes place on the smartphone of a socially awkward teen named Alex. On his phone, all the emojis live in the city of Textopolis, where they work as... emojis. Before we continue, yes, you read that right – Textopolis. The Emoji Movie is to imagination what Donald Trump is to chivalry and socialism.
Given how bad the movie is, the protagonist should have been the turd emoji (Patrick Stewart). Instead, that honour (?) is given to Gene (TJ Miller), a meh emoji. The great conflict in the movie is that Gene isn't really a meh emoji, but experiences all sorts of emotions. This makes him, in the eyes of the residents of Textopolis, a malfunction.
At risk of being deleted from existence, Gene flees Textopolis (Every time I type that name a struggling screenwriter dies) in the hopes of being reprogrammed by a hacker. That hacker comes in the form of Jailbreak (Anna Faris), the coolest sounding phone-related term the movie's creators could think of.
Together, along with the Hi-5 emoji (James Corden), they embark on a journey of redemption through the phone's wallpaper. During this trudge to a thoroughly forgettable end, TJ Miller rues quitting Silicon Valley, Faris' marriage fails, and Corden wishes he'd met with an accident during Carpool Karaoke.
The deeper message
Despite being abject, the movie does serve one very vital purpose – it exposes an apparent drug epidemic in Hollywood. There simply isn't any other way to justify the making of this film.
Somewhere in a shadowy Hollywood studio, a screenwriter pitched the idea of a movie based on emojis. Rather than being instantly dropped into a shark tank, never to be seen again, the script received the greenlight, even attracting a star cast. Nothing short of a warehouse full of bath salts can justify this.
The movie, therefore, shouldn't be seen as a cinematic endeavour. Instead, it should be recognised as a desperate cry for help from an industry so high on drugs that they've lost the ability to articulate actual words, thus reducing them to emojis.
If we do not realise this, instead choosing to only focus on how bad the movie is, Hollywood could slip further into this drug-induced abyss. So Hollywood, if you're reading this, here's a link to Narcotics Anonymous. Remember, the first step to cure is admitting you have a problem.
Should you see it?
Only if you're on the final level of the Blue Whale game. Otherwise, in the immortal words of Trainspotting: Choose life.