I had no intention of seeing "The Emoji Movie" --- we all have our limits --- but David insisted we attend the screening. It had to be because of the "Poop" emoji, voiced by Patrick Stewart.
Personally, I loathe anything bathroom-humor related, but it was a kick hearing Stewart's melodious British-accented voice coming
from a pile of sh*t. And, thankfully, it's not a very big
doody duty --- pun intended.
The story centers on Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller), an emoji with the rare capability to express all emotions. His parents, Mel (voiced by Steven Wright) and Mary (voiced by Jennifer Coolidge) Meh have one emotion --- "meh". All emojis have only one "job" or emotion to express. So when it comes time for Gene to take over for his
parents --- emoting "meh", he freezes, which causes a nightmare in Textopolis.
Smiler (voiced by Maya Rudolph) convinces the "Board" to eliminate Gene before he can cause any more problems. Hi-5 (voiced by James Corden) convinces Gene that they must escape and locate Jailbreak (voiced by Anna Faris), the only code breaker who can "fix" them. A wild "app-venture" ensues as the threesome navigate phone apps in search of the Code that will change Gene.
Yes, well, as much as I did not want to spend my time watching "The Emoji Movie", it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Miller is always fun, and he brings Gene to life in a very sweet way. The poor kid (emoji) only wants to be himself, which I'm guessing is the lesson here.
"The Emoji Movie" isn't the most entertaining film of the summer. It does offer a few clever moments in the world of apps, and an amazing cast of voices. None of this is enough, though, when there are so many better choices out there.
Opinion: Wait for DVD
The smiley-faced emoticon has come a long way since its inception in 1912. Giving way to emojis in the late 1990's, the variety of ways people can express themselves digitally, sans actual words, has become so common in text and e-mail messages that a film about emojis was inevitable. Thus we have "The Emoji Movie", something almost everyone can relate to.
"The Emoji Movie" won't win any prizes for animation, but at least it's an adventurous idea that will appeal to a variety of people. Yet that doesn't necessarily mean to younger viewers, who will not understand the adult references.
The film does send a strong message about not being pigeon-holed into a single identity. The star of the show is Gene (T. J. Miller), the son of Mel and Mary Meh (voiced by the perfectly cast Steven Wright and Jennifer Coolidge). The Meh family are blasé folks who obviously don't get excited about much of anything.
But Gene desires much more. He tires quickly of being a "meh" guy like his dad. Instead, he dreams of being allowed to express a variety of emotions that humans will use in their communications. This becomes critical when the main human, i.e., animated characters, Alex (Jake T. Austin) and Addie (Tati Gabrielle) are engaged in a digital courtship.
Gene is somewhat thwarted by Smiler (Maya Rudolph), who rules the emoji characters. Chief allies to Gene are Hi-5 (James Cordon), and Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Other emojis like Poop (Patrick Stewart), Flamenco (Sofia Vergara), Steven the Devil (Sean Hayes) and Akiko Glitter (Christina Aguilera) have little to do in the film, which is its downfall. More interaction with these emojis would have made "The Emoji Movie" a better outing.
Nonetheless, I give the filmmakers credit for an ambitious effort. But it will be just as entertaining at home as in a conventional movie theater.
Opinion: Wait for DVD