The reviews are in – and it’s not looking great for The Emoji Movie, despite it starring the likes of James Corden and Patrick Stewart.
Film review website Rotten Tomatoes, which collates reviews, currently has the movie on a 0% rating.
Which means not one of the 23 critics whose reviews are on the site so far have given the film the thumbs up.
The film invites viewers inside a smartphone, where an emoji called Gene has a glitch which allows him to use expressions other than his “meh” face.
But when Gene comes under threat of deletion, he goes in search of a hacker who can reprogramme him and eliminate his unwanted facial expressions.
Here’s a rundown of the reaction to the film, due for release in the UK on 4 August.
Charles Bramesco – The Guardian
The most disturbing part of this toxic film is the way it infects audiences with its ugly cynicism. A viewer leaves The Emoji Movie a colder person, not only angry at the film for being unconscionably bad, but resentful of it for making them feel angry. A critic can accept the truth that art and commerce will spend eternity locked in opposition. Nevertheless it’s still startling to see art that cheers commerce on while being stamped in the face by its boots.
Katie Walsh – Los Angeles Times
The Emoji Movie isn’t terrible, it isn’t offensive or outright bad. It just is, and 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.
Glenn Kenny – The New York Times
This movie’s “believe in yourself” message is borne out, in a perverse way, by the very fact that it even exists. And yet the whole thing remains nakedly idiotic. To add to the pain and despair of the experience, The Emoji Movie is preceded by a short, Puppy, featuring the characters from the Hotel Transylvania animated movies. It is also idiotic.
John DeFore – The Hollywood Reporter
Given the right combination of inspiration, intelligence and gifted artists, any dumb thing can be turned into an enjoyable film. But Tony Leondis’ The Emoji Movie, a very, very dumb thing, comes nowhere near that magic combination. It is fast and colourful enough to attract young kids, but offers nearly nothing to their parents. If only this smartphone-centric dud, so happy to hawk real-world apps to its audience, could have done the same in its release strategy – coming out via Snapchat, where it would vanish shortly after arrival. But even that wouldn’t be fast enough.
Tim Grierson – Screen Daily
A film as mindless and disposable as most smartphone apps — and nowhere near as addictive — Sony’s animated The Emoji Movie is a calamitous comedy that inadvertently shows how difficult it is to pull off the witty, imaginative world-building that Pixar makes seem so breezy. Despite wanly espousing the importance of individuality, this anonymous product couldn’t feel more strained or cautious, playing down to its childhood audience while offering plenty of screen time to the myriad brands featured in this movie-length advertisement.
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Alonso Durade – The Wrap
It is a soul-crushing disaster because it lacks humour, wit, ideas, visual style, compelling performances, a point of view or any other distinguishing characteristic that would make it anything but a complete waste of your time, not to mention that of the diligent animators who brought this catastrophe into being.
David Erlich – Indiewire
Once upon a time, something like The Emoji Movie would be regarded as a dire commentary on the culture that produced it. These days, the culture so consistently comments upon itself that something like The Emoji Movie just makes you wonder what’s left to be said. Yes, this is ugly swill that will make parents daydream about going back to work, but at least the poop emoji is wearing a bowtie. At least he’s a good dad (yes, the poop emoji has a son). At least he knows that he stinks.