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7 brutal reviews of The Emoji Movie

The poop emoji stars in the film — and many reviews

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While critics surely would have loved to review The Emoji Movie using only emojis, they were required to use actual words, with some of them being “unfunny,” “waste of time,” and “crappy.” Okay, maybe Patrick Stewart’s poop emoji would have worked.

The new animated film about cell phone emojis has received far from a great reception. The reviews can be summed up by headlines that range from “We’re gonna need a bigger poop emoji” to The Emoji Movie is Inside Out crossed with a Sony commercial and dunked in toxic ooze” to The Emoji Movie will send you into a spiral emoji of despair.”

Among the famous voices featured in the film are T.J. Miller as Gene the “meh” emoji and Stewart as the poop emoji. Unsurprisingly, those two characters were often used by critics in their reviews. “Between Poop and Gene Meh, the characters’ names provide a more succinct and effective Emoji Movie review than I ever could,” wrote ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer.

Read more Emoji Movie reviews below.

Matt Singer (ScreenCrush)
“It would be fitting if there were no words to describe The Emoji Movie; if the ephemeral experience of consuming this unique entertainment could only be summarized in a couple of small pictures dashed off in a text message. But, no, there are plenty of words that can describe The Emoji Movie. Here are a few of them: Unfunny. Saccharine. Nonsensical. Painful. And, of course, crappy. (If you prefer the poop emoji, that works too.)”

Sony Pictures

Alissa Wilkinson (Vox)
“Most likely, it was going to be a garbage fire. And now that I’ve seen it, I can confirm that suspicion: The Emoji Movie is a waste of time, resources, and a bunch of comedians’ voices, plus a premise that actually had the potential to do some small good in the world. It’s less of a movie and more of an insult.”

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 colorful 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.”

David Ehrlich (IndieWire)
“Make no mistake, The Emoji Movie is very, very, very bad (we’re talking about a hyperactive piece of corporate propaganda in which Spotify saves the world and Sir Patrick Stewart voices a living turd), but real life is just too hard to compete with right now. Not even a gaudy monument to late capitalism that masquerades as children’s entertainment — a film that bends over backwards to teach your kids that true happiness is always just an app away — can measure up to what’s happening off-screen. Not even a witless cartoon that unfolds like a G-rated remake of They Live as told from the aliens’ POV feels as toxic as glancing at your Twitter feed or (God forbid) turning on the television news.”

Katie Walsh (Los Angeles Times)
The Emoji Movie is an easy, cheap target for abuse. The marketing campaign centers on a chocolaty brown you-know-what named Poop (voiced by Patrick Stewart) adorning our bus shelters and billboards, for crying out loud. If we are trolled in this way, the only answer is to troll right back. And the truth is that The Emoji Movie is exactly what you expect: There’s no need to wait and see if it surprises, if maybe it’s potentially great. Nope, it’s a perfect reflection of its main character — meh.”

Emily Yoshida (Vulture)
“In the mock tradition of countless superior Pixar films before it, it’s attempting to sell a sense of childlike wonder and fascination with an ordinary, everyday object: your smartphone. And in doing so, it is one of the darkest, most dismaying films I have ever seen, much less one ostensibly made for children.”

Owen Gleiberman (Variety)
“The cartoon ideograms from your smartphone get their own animated adventure, but do they deserve it? Actually, they deserve better than this witless Inside Out knockoff.”

The Emoji Movie opens in theaters on Friday.