YMMV / The Emoji Movie


  • 8.8: Inverted. The author working at Common Sense Media gave the movie a 3/5 in a decidedly mixed review, however, it turned out that was just enough to count as a "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, thus keeping the movie from having a 0% Tomatometer rating. As such, she received a bit of flak for this, though it lessened after another critic (from Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día) gave the film an outright positive review, and a third gave the film a similarly mixed review in which they deemed it just barely watchable.note 
  • Americans Hate Tingle: The film hasn't fared anywhere near as well outside of the U.S. — or at least, English-speaking countries, since it actually did respectably well in the UK — with its international gross taking six weeks just to equal its Stateside gross, something practically unheard of for an animated film from a major studio (not that US and English audiences liked the movie much anyway). The hatedom is much worse in Spanish-speaking countries, especially in Mexico and Spain, where the critics gave tepid reviews with even xenophobic undertones.
    • Note that anti-Americanism is usually well regarded within Latin American and continental Europe's (read, Spain and France) cultural elites and that a perceived decline (if generous) or plain lack (at worst) of cultural baggage on the USA's part is often blamed for low quality American works, specifically Hollywood.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Despite subject matter more suited for pre-teens and teenagers, the movie targets a very young audience with its cutesy characters/environments, a simple plot and having very little conflict. This also isn't helped by the fact that the movies it is accused of ripping off all broke out of the ghetto in their own ways.
    • This is even reflected with the on demand advertising, which says it's good for a kids movie night even though G rated and PG rated animated movies are advertised as for families, as in not "just kids only", but for "both kids and adults".
  • Anvilicious:
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The mere thought of having an entire feature-length film about emojis didn't tick with many. The movie's real demographic problem was summed up best in this review:
    "With its bright colors and cute characters, The Emoji Movie clearly was made, presumably by adults, for young kids, even though it's about technology in a way that a person has to be at least a pre-teen in order to appreciate. It's a movie that's too bland for adults, too cutesy and juvenile for teens and pre-teens, and too confusing for kids. In other words, it's a movie for no one, except all of the companies that signed on to have their mobile applications and games blatantly promoted without a lick of shame on the part of the filmmakers."
    • There's also the fact that despite being aimed toward younger audiences, the movie constantly carries a sense of contempt toward younger people, especially with regards to technology, essentially shoving a middle finger in the face of the intended audience.
  • Awesome Art: Say what you want about the movie, but the designs and backgrounds are very pretty (the occasional Uncanny Valley of said designs notwithstanding).
  • Base-Breaking Character: Jailbreak does admittedly have a few fans (someone even shipped her with Wyldstyle, a character she tends to get compared to), but like pretty much almost everything else in the movie, she certainly is not without her haters for the belief that she's a carbon copy of Wyldstyle and that her being a princess was stolen directly from Vanellope.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In the middle of Smiler's meeting in one scene, she is so angry, she said she needs something happy to lighten the mood. Cue the Gavel Emoji whistles for Flamenco Dancer Emoji to cheer her up. Smiler just said "Not that happy" and pushes the Flamenco Dancer Emoji away. Given that it lasted at least 10 seconds, it was never mentioned again.
  • Bile Fascination: No other theatrically-released animated movie has received so much hatred on the Internet since Norm of the North, with a large majority of people only watching the film just to see how bad it would be (which, ironically, led to the film becoming a mild box-office success).
  • Broken Base: While viewed as Snark Bait by many, if the various fanart and small quantity of fanfiction out there is any evidence, the film actually has a small group of fans who either genuinely liked it or just consider it okay.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: Who would have guessed that it's good to be yourself if it allows you to express more than one emotion? And even then, it is rarely seen as a deep message about emotional repression.
  • Cliché Storm: Infamously so. One of the film's biggest criticisms is that it is an unashamed mishmash of animated movie clichés from its era, as highlighted in this video comparing it to the many, many works that it is derivative of. People had even begun (correctly) predicting the plot beats, characters, and the ending for this film since before the posters were even released.
  • Critic-Proof: Zig-zagged. On the one hand, for its first couple of days it comfortably topped the box-office, well ahead of Dunkirk despite the awful early reviews. Word of mouth soon spread about its poor quality, however, meaning that it had dropped to second place for the weekend as a whole, behind Dunkirk. That being said, it still made $25 million over the weekend, half of its budget and double the amount that Smurfs: The Lost Village, the studio's previous effort, made in its own opening weekend. The film was ultimately modestly successful at the box office; three months after release it had grossed over $215 million worldwide ($85,8 million domestically, $128,4 million internationally) on a $50 million budget (not including marketing costs), or $68.64 million budget when counting TV advertising.
  • Critical Backlash: Downplayed. Quite a few reviewers have said yes, the movie is awful, but it isn't the end of all things good, and it even had some positive aspects; audiences online tend to treat it as if it'll spell the end for Sony Pictures and usher in a new era of "___ Movies."
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • The eggplant emoji being among the misfit emojis that no one ever uses confused a lot of people (such as the Double Toasted crew), as the eggplant emoji is considered to be one of the most popular emojis (albeit for all the wrong reasons).note  Many took it as a sign that the filmmakers were completely out-of-touch with the very subject of the movie they were making, or else that they simply didn't care to do the research.
    • The Narutomaki (swirly fishcake) emoji is also there, which, assumedly, would be used with decent frequency in Japan. Also, literally the only way that any part of this makes any kind of sense is if the emoji were phone-specific. So maybe Alex just doesn't use the eggplant emoji, which makes a certain kind of sense.
    • Also, the phone would not have been deleted, but given a factory reset.
    • Most phones do not have "firewalls" in the traditional sense.
    • Trolls aren't malware like viruses or Trojan Horses. They're actual people.
    • A factory reset can't just be "stopped". At the point that Alex unplugged his phone, just about everything should have been rendered nonfunctional (including core programs) unless he completed it.
    • Video game apps don't play their sound effects while minimized.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Gene is supposed to be the hero, but several apps were deleted because of him, all with little remorse. Jailbreak even calls him a hero despite causing all the problems in the first place. Not to mention, he doesn't even try to rescue Akiko Glitter when he goes save Hi-5 from the trash, when he himself was responsible for her being there. There's also the fact that despite being an emoji who can make more than one face, he has surprisingly little personality.
    • Hi-5 spends much of the film as a self-centered narcissist concerned with popularity more than anything, and causes way more trouble than he's worth, up to including indirectly causing Just Dance to get deleted by turning the app on in the first place. And while the film tries to portray him as undergoing Character Development, his personality changes little.
  • Designated Villain: Smiler is played up as this depraved monster... when the gist of her motivations boils down to preventing her city's death. Not even in a power-hungry manner, to the point that she even allows some compromise until it's rejected by the heroes. At worst, she's a mildly unstable Well-Intentioned Extremist if not Hero Antagonist, and even then it's hard to see what other options she had. Sure, the movie acknowledges her perspective, but the fact that she was correct and considering that Gene is not particularly endearing in the first place makes it difficult to see her as villainous.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Despite the film's message about expressing yourself, it was panned mercilessly by critics for being an unimaginative Cliché Storm filled with Product Placement.
  • Ear Worm: "Good Vibrations" by Ricky Reed (a.k.a. Wallpaper). Many have said it's a shame a perfectly fine pop song was wasted on a movie like this.
  • Eight Deadly Words: With almost all of the characters being flat, annoying, and/or just plain unlikable, you can't find yourself rooting for anyone to make it through in the end, with the exception of Akiko Glitter, who is the only character to die.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Many people agree that the human characters look much more interesting than the actual emojis, as they don't fall into the Uncanny Valley like the emojis do (see that trope's entry below).
    • As for characters who live in the phone, Akiko Glitter tends to be the one most people seem to like. Her death was a criticism.
    • Poop is also the most popular of the emojis, only due to having the voice of Patrick Stewart. Many viewers would have preferred he take the place of Hi-5 in the mission, as he would have been at least a little more tolerable.
    • Some reviewers have taken a liking to Mary and Mel Meh, due to their subplot's jokes of stating their emotions with a blank face and monotone voices being Actually Pretty Funny.
    • Smiler has gained a following a people who argue that she's the real hero of the movie, or who at least approve of her quest to murder the wholly unlikable protagonists.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: If Alex learns to take advantage of Gene's special ability, then several of the most popular Emojis would be out of a job. Looks like Smiler had another reason to be wary of Emojis expressing more than one emotion. Since the loser lounge is still functional despite Smiler's defeat, they might possibly be sent there one day.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • The filmmakers implied that Gene having to hide the fact he can make more than one face is meant to be a metaphor for the trials and tribulations of the LGBT community. Gene learning to be himself by the end of the film would've made this a legitimately good metaphor until you remember that Gene actually inherited his face changing ability from his dad, and when he accidentally reveals that he can make more than one face, it almost causes the phone to be reset. So yeah, by this line of logic, expressing your unique identity will likely bring down the apocalypse on everyone around you. There is also the problem that Gene goes into a Heroic B.S.O.D. when his female love interest rejects him. Apparently, the film seems to think that not getting a heterosexual love interest is a legitimate cause for depression.
    • Your crush just rejected you, well it's totally normal to fall into a permanent state of "meh." The fact that she said no is completely unacceptable and so it's up to her to come back so that you can feel better about yourself. It's not like Gene should have learned how to maturely handle these situations.
    • Some critics have mentioned how the film seems to be essentially indoctrinating children to keep using their smartphones at all times and download the apps advertised in the film without any thought for the negative consequences of using their smartphones all the time. These messages are prevalent while the film barely attempts to make fun of peoples' obsession with their phones.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Well, if the movie had a fandom:
    • A Popeye movie directed by Genndy Tartakovsky was (often mistakenly believed to be) put on the backburner for this — so given the widely-negative response to the film's premise, a number of fans of the cartoon/comic strip have expressed disdain for this movie. That being said, there are some fans of Tartakovsky who are fine with the fact that his movie got iced, since it gave him an opportunity to uncancel Samurai Jack and give it an actual ending after several years.
    • The LEGO Movie fans see the film as a blatant attempt to emulate that film's success. It doesn't help that this film's female protagonist, Jailbreak, looks near-identical to Wyldstyle.
    • The Dark Tower film was pushed back to August so that this movie would be released on July 28. Needless to say, fans of Stephen King weren't happy.
    • And of course, the Inside Out and Wreck-It Ralph fandoms who think this film apes them both in many ways.
    • The In a Heartbeat fandom of all things, due to the claims that IAHB, a four-minute long kickstarted short made by a small team, was a million times better than a sponsored, large budget movie with an All-Star Cast. Adding more fuel to the fire, one of the main characters is helped by an eccentric heart that looks a bit like an emoji itself.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks: Inverted. As listed in 8.8 above, the few critics on Rotten Tomatoes who gave the film positive reviews (some of which only just barely qualified for "positive") received harsh criticism online for reviewing the film as being anything other than a crime against humanity.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The scene with Mel and Mary in Alex's Instagram album of his trip to Paris.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In Deadpool, T. J. Miller's character mentions that he thought the poop emoji was meant to represent frozen yogurt — so knowing that one of his next roles would actually involve playing an emoji that interacts with an Anthropomorphic Personification of that emoji (who also has the voice of Professor X) is amusing to some degree.
    • The irony of the presence of the poop emoji in a film that placed at number two in its opening weekend was not lost on many commentators, especially considering how many critics had used the poop emoji to sum up the film's quality.
    • The movie's production has a few parallels to Foodfight!. Both were movies that cashed in on the plot of an everyday building/device secretly being home to a fantastical community and landscape. Both were infamous for gratuitous Product Placement, and were both received very negatively. The studios of both movies were heavily impacted by a crime: Foodfight's producers were affected by the disk theft, while Sony was affected by the 2014 hacking, even though that happened before the film was ever green-lit. Foodfight!'s production became extremely long due to the theft of the disks, while The Emoji Movie's production was extremely quick and rushed in order to avoid other studios making their own take on emojis (with the creators somehow celebrating this). Ironically, The Emoji Movie actually got worse reviews than Foodfight, and is ranked exactly one place ahead of it on the IMDb Bottom 100 movies ever.
    • Anna Faris' ex-husband Chris Pratt played Emmet in The LEGO Movie. Faris voices Jailbreak in this film, which has been accused of ripping off The Lego Movie, as well as Jailbreak herself being accused of ripping off Wyldstyle from that same film. Coincidentally, the two divorced just over a week after The Emoji Movie was released.
    • The very premise of the film itself becomes this after Apple released Animoji for the iPhone X, where the emojis there can make as many faces as they want. Gene would feel right at home.
  • Hype Backlash: Inverted. The ire against this film has been so potent that several reviewers felt the need to point out that it's "merely" a really bad movie, not the end of all cinema, and even then, there are some people that honestly didn't think the film was really that bad as others believe it to be.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Jeremy Jahns' review of the movie points out that Alex is nervous about sending a text to a girl he likes... despite him having her phone number to send said text.
      Jeremy Jahns: "This freshman in highschool [is] trying to muster the guts to send an emoji text to this girl that he likes. But he gets nervous 'cause he can't talk to her. Though apparently, he got her phone number. He talked to her enough to get her phone number, so there's that. Now he's gonna be nervous about sending her an emoji? Dude, you're already like halfway there! Stupid."
    • Critics such as Brad Jones and Bobsheaux noted that Gene's "multiple-face" trait is pretty much a non-issue by the film's own logic. As long as he makes the right face when getting scanned, how he acts off-duty doesn't really matter; it's no different than an actor in a play - they go onstage, perform a role for a few hours, then go back to themselves. They're not expected to stay in character 24/7.
    • There are many parts in the movie where characters are shown walking around the apps rather than going through them, showcasing that the main characters didn't need to go through numerous apps to get to their goal. The only reason that they needed to do so was for the film's obnoxious Product Placement to be possible.
  • Internet Backdraft: Quite literally everything about this movie has resulted in a significant denomination of the Internet getting severely pissed off: the mere idea of a feature film based off of emojis, the fact that it's a Sony production (after Ghostbusters (2016), one of the most controversial movies pre-release in the history of the Internet, and their track record of releasing critical and/or commercial bombs, such as The Smurfs and The Amazing Spider-Man 2), the heavy resemblance to other popular movies and especially the fact that its greenlighting came in the wake of the cancellation of both Genndy Tartakovsky's Popeye movie and Lauren Faust's Medusa movie.note  The edit wars and vandalism got so bad that The Other Wiki gave an extended protection locknote  on its article on this movie until January 27th, 2018.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: As noted multiple times on this very entry, the Internet as a whole despise this movie for its blatant ripping off of many, many, many other better-liked animated films. The first trailers were viciously ripped apart online for their nearly beat-for-beat repetition of tired animated cliches, and it got even worse when at least one plot twist appeared to be stolen directly from Wreck-It Ralph.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Smiler is the villain. Which isn't exactly a spoiler since this is shown in the trailers.
    • Jailbreak is secretly a princess emoji.
    • Akiko Glitter dies horribly.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Many people who saw the movie in theaters only did so to watch the Hotel Transylvania short "Puppy!" that played at the start.
    • There was also a DuckTales (2017) PSA about not using your phone in theaters, which essentially takes this movie's modern aspects and does it much better in less than 1 minute. Said PSA was also linked with Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 as well though.
    • Patrick Stewart as the poop emoji, while being a very weird casting choice for many, as it led some to watch the movie if only for that specific reason.
  • Misaimed Marketing:
    • Judging by the comments of many viewers, Sony's decision to release their first trailer narrated by an apathetic emoji (voiced by Steven Wright to boot) seemed to signal that Sony was completely indifferent about selling their movie.
    • A promotional image was posted on Twitter that parodied The Handmaid's Tale, a book and television series involving a woman enslaved by the government to produce children. Needless to say, it was quickly taken down after everyone pointed out that maybe this wasn't the best thing to make a joke out of.
    • In the weeks leading up to the film's release, Sony Pictures reached out to a YouTuber called Jacksfilms and invited him to the movie's world premiere, arguing that he was the movie's biggest fan (as he had done several videos praising it), and since most popular YouTubers have a demographic that consists mainly of twelve-year-olds, the executives probably wanted to use him and his videos to market the film. However, Jacksfilms' "praise" of the movie was entirely ironic, and he and every subscriber of his (who are mostly adults) were making fun of the movie, which was something the executives at Sony Pictures apparently failed to realize. His reaction at getting invited to the film's world premiere was priceless.
  • Mis-blamed: Many people have blamed the movie for the cancellation of Genndy Tartakovsky's Popeye movie and Lauren Faust's Medusa, when in actuality, the cancellation of both films happened during the Sony hack and the subsequent rearrangement of executive positions. Afterwards, it was only then that the new head of Sony Animation greenlit The Emoji Movie. This video explains it all in detail.
  • Moe:
    • Gene and Jailbreak are surprisingly adorable in their own respective rights.
    • Akiko Glitter, an athletic Genki Girl drawn in an Animesque art style who enjoys dancing.
  • Moral Event Horizon: A completely unintentional one. When the Just Dance app gets deleted along with Akiko Glitter and Hi-5, Gene and Jailbreak go in to rescue Hi-5..... and don't even consider trying to save Akiko, leaving her to likely be erased from existence if Alex ever empties his trash bin. What makes matters worse is that the app is only deleted because of a problem Gene caused.
  • Narm: It says a lot about the film's quality when the unintentionally hilarious moments tend to end up being more entertaining than its intentional ones:
    • A lot of the film's dialogue becomes hard to take seriously due to how embarrasingly unsubtle and/or cringeworthy it is. To wit:
      • "Emojis are the most important tool of communication".
      • "Words aren't cool!", claims Alex's friend while Alex is deciding on how he should communicate with his crush. Reportedly, audiences laughed uproariously at this line during press screenings, thanks to the apparent belief by the writers that teenagers actually act this way.
      • Hi-5's line after Gene comes out of the Facebook app: "None of these people know him, but they like him, and that's what matters in this life. Popularity."
      • "MEN ARE ALWAYS GETTING CREDIT FOR WOMEN'S WORDS AND I'M SICK OF IT!". Even feminists were annoyed with how blatantly shoe-horned in this was.
    • The fact that the plot revolves around Alex trying to figure out how to communicate with his crush when he already has her number, and that he can't figure out the correct emoji to send to her.
      • The film's real-world conflict is then resolved by Addie asking Alex to the dance because his phone sent an emoji, which somehow makes him different from the other teenagers who are constantly using their phones.
    • Alex's love letter to Addie literally consists of lyrics from Rihanna's song "Diamonds".
    • The reveal that Jailbreak's entire motivation is about her status as a princess emoji, and that apparently female emojis were only ever allowed to be princesses or brides. Besides being just plain wrong within the context of the film (Gene's mom is a female version of the genderless "meh" emoji, not to mention other female emojis are based on stuff unrelated to princesses, and it's made even more egregious by the fact that the main villain is a woman!), this plot thread seems solely placed into the movie as if begging for feminists to give it a good review.
    • The "Emoji Pop" dance was clearly intended to be the next "Nae Nae", but it failed miserably. It could have been a little more tolerable if it consisted of something more than just the dancer standing still, covering their eyes and pulling peek-a-boo faces.
    • Anna Faris' high-pitched voice is the last thing you'd expect to associate with the tough-girl archetype that Jailbreak is meant to be, and sounds hilariously jarring at times.
    • Look closely during the dance party. Next to Mary and Mel, you can see AKU, THE SHAPE SHIFTING MASTER OF DARKNESS, in emoji form. The hilarity is in how he looks so very little like Aku!
    • As mentioned above under Critical Research Failure, the fact that the movie represents trolls as malware as opposed to being real people is so ludicrous that it can come off as hilarious.
    • The fact that the Just Dance app's sound effects are playing on Alex's phone while the app is minimized. Game apps don't work that way.
    • While the Instagram scene with Mel and Mary is pretty touching, it's somewhat undermined by the photo somehow becoming a 3D representation of the scene in Paris when Mary enters it.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The movie is this to Sony Pictures Animation, who will probably have to take years to recover from the fallout of the film's overwhelmingly-negative reception. Even their previous effort before this, Smurfs: The Lost Village, seems Oscar-worthy by comparison. Even if the movie becomes a box office success, SPA's mere association with this movie could end up negatively affecting the roll-out of future projects, including their next one, The Star (which has already received flak for its premise of focusing on animals when Jesus was born), as well as Peter Rabbit.
    • While emojis may still be popular in the smartphone world, it's doubtful that they'll ever be adapted to anything else beyond this film. If anything, it could serve as a cautionary tale to other animation studios of what happens when you try to make current trends among youth that could end up fading into obscurity in the future into films.
    • The film is also noted for its abysmally-low scores on film rating websites. Initially, it boasted a rare Rotten Tomatoes score of 0% at the time of release, which gave it further unwanted attention. It's now at 9%, but still qualifies as one of the lowest-scored animated films in the site's history (and its average rating is 2.7/10, which is lower than Norm of the North's 3.1/10). Similarly, it has a 12 out of 100 on Metacritic, becoming the lowest-scored animated film on that site, and in that case it scored lower than Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light (15 out of 100). The film even ended up on the IMDb Bottom 100 list (the movie sits at #83 as of this writing).
  • Nightmare Fuel: Akiko Glitter's fate, as described under Tear Jerker, is a likely unintentional example. She doesn't know how to do anything else, so she has no choice but to dance in pure agony — forever. Many people have pointed out how disturbing this is, comparing it to the fate of a victim from a Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror Story. The fact that Gene doesn't even bother to save her makes it even worse.
  • Offending the Creator's Own: Director Tony Leondis, who is openly gay, once compared Gene's struggles with showing off his face changing ability with how gay men struggle with coming out in real-life. However, the fact that Gene nearly got the phone reset because of his ability, not to mention he inherited it from his father, made the whole metaphor come across as insulting towards those in the LGBT community.
    • Jailbreak is an extremely heavy-handed at pushing a pro-feminist message, but her unlikable personality, poorly received character design, and the "feminist" message in question being completely botched left many feminists more irritated than pleased,
  • Rooting for the Empire: One critic said that he was "openly rooting for Gene to be executed."
  • The Scrappy: Hi-5. While none of the characters in the film were really considered to be very interesting characters in the first place, the local comic relief character is often singled out by critics as one of the worst characters in the movie. He frequently causes more trouble than he's worth, even within the film. By the time the trio makes it to Dropbox, Jailbreak is adamant that Hi-5 just stand around and do nothing. What little character he has is much less sympathetic than the other two heroes (which is basically just wanting to be popular again), and overall he just serves as obnoxious comic relief. He thinks that he has charm and charisma, but it comes across as being incredibly forced and annoying. It doesn't help that the main characters go out of their way to rescue him when he faces certain doom, but not the more sympathetic character that he was trapped with. James Corden's performance doesn't help matters.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: One version of the teaser trailer is rendered entirely vertical, including the scene outside of the smartphone world, to fit on phones. Due to vertical videos having gigantic black bars, which are a universal pet peeve to many users on sites like YouTube, this did nothing to help the response to the trailer.
  • Self-Fanservice: Jailbreak has been sexualized quite a bit in certain parts of the Internet. No, seriously. It actually kind of helps that, of all the other emojis that appear the film, she's the only one who looks as if she's drawn with a full body.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off:
    • The movie's title and premise don't even bother to hide that it was made in an attempt to cash in on the success of The LEGO Movie, with even the director describing it as Sony's own "Lego movie". It doesn't help that the female lead strongly resembles Wyldstylenote . She also resembles Chloe Price in appearance, if not in personality, and her subplot plays out like that of Vanellope's.
    • The "misfit going on an epic journey to find their place" plot and "inner workings of everyday objects imagined as fantastical landscapes" settings come straight from the Wreck-It Ralph/Inside Out playbook.
  • Snark Bait: Even before the trailer was released, the movie's flimsy premise and subsequently dull execution lent itself to mockery. It's also been viciously criticised for having so much blatant Product Placement that some critics consider it to be essentially a 90-minute advertisement, and for how it seems to be essentially indoctrinating children to keep using their smartphones at all times and download the apps advertised in the film without any thought for the negative consequences.
    • It was widely believed that it would become one of the only films to have a 0% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoesnote  until a very mixed review from Common Sense Media and a positive review from a Spanish website, along with 9 others brought it up to a still-abysmal 9%, with an average critical rating of 2.7/10 (the top critics' reviews, however, give a 0% Tomatometer rating and a 1.5 average rating). The movie even fell rapidly to the IMDb Bottom 100 list at the time of its release, sitting at #83 as of this writing. The only animated movies that got worse reviews than this on IMDb are Foodfight! and the infamous two Titanic movies - none of whom, it must be noted, got a wide theatrical release, and it has a Rotten Tomatoes average rating of 2.7/10, which is lower than Norm of the North's 3.1/10 (that film was originally intended to be Direct-to-DVD).
  • So Bad, It's Good: When it's not seen as being average or a crime against all mankind, the film is typically viewed as being so stupid and clumsily-handled that it becomes a straight-up laugh riot for how inept it is.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The few people that didn't outright hate the film considered it to just be average instead. Or, should we say, "meh".
  • Squick:
    • Hi-5, after playing Candy Crush and eating said candy, declares that he feels sick and will never eat another piece of candy again. Then he spits out a candy corn, and puts it back in his mouth, even after Gene tells him not to. And it has a spit droplet on it to boot.
    • Patrick Stewart's character is a sentient poop emoji.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Smiler is supposed to come off as a Control Freak, but she is in a Cosmic Horror Story in which her world could be eradicated at a teenage boy's whim.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • Almost everyone tore apart the teaser trailer upon its release, with many seeing it as everything wrong with the animation industry in present times. The fact that Mel Meh Emoji, intentionally or not, hinted at sequels in said trailer ("It's my pleasure to announce our first movie.") only further emboldened the backlash.
    • The release of the first theatrical trailer did nothing to alleviate the backlash, as it only confirmed the worst fears of many who felt that it would just play multiple tropes used in other animated films straight. Not only that, but the revelation that it would feature a scene dedicated to Candy Crush Saga caused people to fume. The inverse reaction also happened in that, while the trailer didn't win anyone over, it did convince some viewers that the film was at least trying to make something of its concept.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks: Here's a fun drinking game: Scroll through any article on the movie and take a shot every time someone points out the similarities to The LEGO Movie, Inside Out and/or Wreck-It Ralph. You will die.note  Even plot points not spoiled by the marketing, such as The Reveal that Jailbreak is a princess are so blatantly ripped off from these films that many viewers have jokingly suggested that lawsuits be filed against Leondis (who was also one of the writers for the film) and/or Sony.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many of the Emojis in the film rarely play a critical role, often being relegated to background characters or having brief lines. Of particular note is Poop, who despite being featured prominently in the marketing, and being voiced by Patrick Stewart, no less, only has around two minutes of dialogue throughout the entire film.
    • Of all the strange and unique emojis, you gotta wonder why they chose a simple facial emoji as the main character.
    • Quite a few people liked Akiko Glitter. The fact Gene doesn't even try saving her when going back for Hi-5 despite her still functioning and thereby preventing her from doing more is a complaint. She and the other characters they meet also never reappear during the Dance Party Ending, yet the film has the nerve to play "Feel This Moment" (a song performed by Christina Aguilera, the voice of Akiko). And speaking of that, despite being voiced by a very talented singer, never once does Akiko sing in the movie.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Some critics feel that the decision to give the emojis arms and legs is this, pointing out that it would've been funnier and a bit more interesting if the Emojis were only heads that bounced around to move. They could also have gone a bit further and not have the Emojis even speak, instead having them convey emotions through facial expressions only. Like what emojis are supposed to do.
    • A lot of people think the movie would have worked better as a parody or satire of its genre rather than a straight example. It could have, for instance, been a good way to parody of how generic and cookie-cutter Hollywood movies (especially animated movies) are these days instead of being yet another generic, cookie-cutter animated movie itself. It might even have worked as an adult-oriented spoof of kids' movies, in the vein of Sausage Party (which was made by the same studio and got much better reception).
    • Others felt that the movie would have worked better if it had just been about Alex and Addie. It could have focused on their relationship and budding romance, and having her help him with his shyness and trouble communicating with people, as well as not rely on his phone so much. The sentient emojis could have still been included, but ambiguous as to whether they were alive or not.
      • On top of that, Pan Pizza of Rebel Taxi pointed out that the film would have been improved if Alex and Addie's romance was a Long Distance Relationship, focusing on the challenges of maintaining a strong connection with someone who you can't communicate with in-person, similar to the themes in the anime film, Voices of a Distant Star.
    • Before the film came out, several people on Tumblr thought that the film could work better if it was about a villainous piece of malware trying to take over the phone, with Gene trying to stop them, comparing it to the villain in Osmosis Jones.
    • Some have proposed that the film would have been a lot more interesting if Gene and Smiler switched places, in that the main character was a "happy" emoji who learns that being not happy all the time isn't a bad thing. Granted, this would basically be the same plot as Inside Out, but the film so blatantly rips off Inside Out regardless that this plotline couldn't have done any harm, at least.
    • Max of Brain Dump proposed a version of the movie that focused on Alex being a closed-off, underachieving kid that escapes into his phone to ignore his problems, with the emojis deciding to go on a quest to help him improve his life by encouraging him to try to get off his phone and interact with others to get help, fitting with the demographic and pop culture at the time.
  • Too Cool to Live: Many people found Akiko Glitter to be one of the only genuinely likable characters in the movie. Guess who's also the only character to die?
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • Despite the subject matter and relatively low budget, the animators clearly gave it their all, with at least one of them coming out and admitting they had a lot of fun working on the movie.
    • Both T. J. Miller and Patrick Stewart admitted to have actually enjoyed working on the film, especially when you consider that Miller himself initially didn't want to work on the film, having agreed with the people who thought that the concept was too ridiculous, and that Stewart didn't really have a lot of lines in the entire movie.
  • Trailer Joke Decay: The aforementioned gag involving Hi-5 eating a piece of candy he just threw up has so far been featured in nearly every trailer for the movie. Same thing with the "We're #2!" gag.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The emoji character designs. Their limbs are all underneath large, heavily detailed heads, and look extremely distracting. The faces don't look much better either. The fact that they barely even resemble actual emojis doesn't help either.
    • Hi-5 can bend his thumb and pinky finger like arms, which looks like he is painfully breaking and disjointing them.
    • This mascot suit of Gene.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Smiler at the end of the movie where she's sent to the loser lounge, her centre teeth broken, and forced to wear a massive retainer after being crashed by her own robot. You sorta wanna give her a hug, if you're willing to forgive her trying to murder Gene and his father even after the former had his malfunction fixed, even if it was out of heartbreak of getting rejected by Jailbreak.
    • Alex's habit of immediately deleting programs that act strangely makes Smiler's preoccupation with order and normality more understandable.
    • After "Just Dance" gets deleted, Akiko Glitter doesn't know how to do anything else, so she has no choice but to dance in pure agony forever, with Gene not even bothering to save her. As a result, people refuse to believe that they're not supposed to care for her.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Gene's father is also able to make more than one face, and has hid it from everyone in his life. However, this raises the question of why he didn't help Gene figure out how to hide being able to make more than one face all this time, nor even tell him about the fact that he wasn't the only emoji capable of doing so. He also doesn't seem to try and sympathize with Gene, or show any understanding for something he himself suffers from and passed onto Gene.
    • Gene loses a lot of sympathy points as well. Sure, he stops the phone from being reset, but several apps were deleted because of him. Not to mention, he doesn't even try to rescue Akiko Glitter when he goes to save Hi-5 from the trash, when he himself was responsible for her being there. As well, there's his panicking upon being picked by Alex and his inability to make a single face, which really shouldn't be too hard.
    • Hi-5's self-centered and arrogant personality made him come across as unlikable to many audience members. When he gets sent to the trash, there's a good chance you will not feel sorry for him.
    • Jailbreak has zero sympathy points as well. While we're meant to relate to her for not wanting to be the sexist symbol she was designated to be, but her flat and cold personality makes it impossible to relate to her in any way.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: A lot of people consider the animation to be one of the film's few saving graces, being very fluid and having well-structured visuals, especially the Spotify scene. Even people like AniMat and I Hate Everything, who otherwise harshly panned the film, praised the effort that was clearly put into it.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Alex takes his phone to the electronics center to have its data erased after seeing some apps act strangely and accidentally sending "the wrong face".
    • Gene panicking when he is picked by Alex instead of making and holding a single facial expression.
    • When the main trio is sneaking through the Just Dance app to reach Dropbox, Hi-5 decides to turn the app on for no reason when Jailbreak explicitly said not to, alerting the bots to their location and almost causing them to all get deleted.
  • The Woobie: Akiko Glitter becomes this after Just Dance, her home and purpose in life, is deleted. She's then sent to the trash along with Hi-5, some trolls and a spam emoji. Even worse is that Gene didn't even bother saving her when he came to save his best friend.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheEmojiMovie