It’s easy for ‘The Emoji Movie’ to be ‘meh’

You may wonder if a movie based on emojis can really work? The answer is, no, but “The Emoji Movie” has a fun premise and plenty of dazzling pixels and colorful characters to keep young viewers amused.

The film takes place inside a smartphone that belongs to a kid named Alex. All the emojis live in the text app, which they call, Textropolis. Each Emoji is expected to display their signature expression consistently despite their emotions. Gene – who is supposed to display the “meh” expression – can display multiple expressions, much to the dismay of his parents and friends. During an important text, Gene panics and displays the wrong expression. Labeled a malfunction by the supervisor of Textopolis, Smiler, Gene sets out on a mission through the smartphone’s apps to correct his malfunction and save Textropolis. Along the way, he meets Hi-5 in Riverside’s Loser Lounge and the journey begins.

Family Audiences will enjoy the usual tween movie message of “be yourself” and “be unique at all costs.” Kids and tweens may enjoy watching their favorite and featured apps come to life such as Just Dance and Spotify.

Unfortunately – for all other audience members – the obnoxious product placement, lazy animation, cliché-laden plot and insufferable app advertisements grate on the nerves. In a summer filled with groundbreaking films and courageous stories, “The Emoji Movie” is an undistinguished trifle.

Surprisingly, the voice talents are superb and include T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Rachael Ray, Sean Hayes and Academy Award Winner, Steven Wright. However, the stand-out performances come from Emmy award winner, James Corden, as the voice of Hi-5 and Emmy nominee, Maya Rudolph, as the voice of the creepy, sunshine-laden, Smiler.

Sadly, this film is not sure to please but it will give family audiences a brief escape from the summer heat.

Family Audiences: 2 out of 5

Everybody Else: 1 out of 5