'The Emoji Movie' is getting stinky reviews

Commentary: It's one thing to jump on a phone trend. It seems like another to make a movie out of it. At least, if you believe the critics.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Will there be a happy ending?

Sony Pictures

When it comes to next year's Oscars time, will this movie sweep every award?

Every award at the Razzies, that is -- the show that occurs just before the Oscars and celebrates the very worst in movies.

I'm speaking of "The Emoji Movie," which emerges before public eyes today and has already affected the eyes of critics nationwide.

So much so that review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes currently gives it a rating of 3 percent.

The movie, which stars T.J. Miller -- who played Erlich Bachman on "Silicon Valley" -- seems to have burrowed itself so deeply beneath reviewers' skins that there is no existing emoji that sufficiently describes their pain.

For example, this from Peter Sobczynski of RogerEbert.com: "This is a film that has literally nothing to offer viewers -- there are no moments of humor, excitement or insight regarding a culture that considers emojis to be the pinnacle of contemporary communication."

Or this, from the Wrap's Alonso Duralde: "It is a soul-crushing disaster because it lacks humor, 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."

Or just the headline from Screencrush: "We're Gonna Need A Bigger Poop Emoji."

The studio behind the movie, Sony Pictures, declined to comment on the reaction.

A source at the studio told me, however, that Sony is more interested in how children will react to the movie, rather than adults who always expect to get their own entertainment out of taking their kids to movies. So far, I understand, the kids quite like it.

Still, when reviews are quite this awful it creates a perverse fascination. 

I want to see this movie as deeply as I regret not having had the chance to see the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez classic "Gigli," before the stars had every copy preserved for only themselves.

In the end, the studio will look to the numbers. If this tale of a world in which the emojis on your phone have a life of their own attracts audiences, Sony will be happy. 

And there is a glimmer of hope. Currently on Rotten Tomatoes, 46 percent of audience reviewers liked the movie. 

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

Special Reports: CNET's in-depth features in one place.