An Icon of Lost Potential

Emoji

 

In today’s world, the phone isn’t used quite as the inventors pictured, with actual calling being replaced by texting and snapchat.  But one item has been developed to replace the words that are too difficult to write: Emojis. In desperation, Sony has developed a film about these icons in an attempt to break the bank with another hit animated series.  Can they succeed, or will this movie be nothing but a bombardment of sad faced emojis?  Robbie K here to answer that question for you with another review.

 

LIKES:

 

The Animation:  You can say a lot of negative things about the movie, but one plus for this reviewer is the beautiful display Sony’s team has designed.  Like many movies, the characters move with fluid grace, transitioning through their adventure with little jumpiness.  High Five (James Corden) in particular has impressive moves, as having a hand expand beyond simple hand movements can be tricky business.  In addition, I enjoyed the visualization of the world within our phone, finding clever design in the development of the internal universes of each app (primarily Instagram’s frozen pictures).  I’ll admit, the characters aren’t realistic like Pixar, or even super creative design, but there is cleverness in the world itself.

 

It’s Cute:  When it comes to cartoons/animated marvels, the pendulum can swing to either side of the age spectrum.  Fear not those with little kids, this movie is certainly geared towards the younger side, filled to the brim with color, simplistic jokes, and over the top slapstick that will make many giggle.  Sure, there are a few drier jokes that adults will get, but for the most part this movie goes back to basics for family friendliness.  One won’t have to worry about inappropriate gestures or innuendos in this film.

 

The Morals:  Movies are a powerful tool to teach the lessons we humans are too ignorant to learn from mentors, school, and the quickly fading trend of reading.  Emoji’s movie solid lesson of being yourself and not conforming to the traditional ways is as good rehash of the traditional lesson.  Those who stand out from the norm will find great relevance to Gene (T.J. Miller)  and Jailbreak’s (Anna Faris) quest and most likely grab on to the characters.  It’s also always good to see a lesson in friendship as well, quoting the movie as “Better to have one good friend, than a bunch of fake fans followers”.  The strong emphasis on this will hopefully break through the persistent firewalls of your subconscious and get you contacting your buddies.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Story:  Despite the morals infused into the story, the overall quality of Gene’s tale is very basic at best.  The Emoji movie has little sustenance to it, diving more into cramming the jokes in the short run time. After all the world building I had hoped for a little more depth to navigating the apps, facing the dangers of the cyber terror that lurk in our phones. I wanted suspense! I wanted exploration of a selection of apps. I wanted an adventure that had a little more depth behind it. I got very little of that.  All the obstacles they faced were fairly easy to circumvent, and often not worth mentioning at how lame they were. Certainly, they did a few things right (Just Dance 4), but for the most part, it was a huge loss of potential at decoding the craziness of our obsession with phones.

 

Humor:  Humor can be fun when balanced, but unfortunately Emoji movie lacks that balance, once again swinging the pendulum to the younger audience.  Most of the jokes are very simple statements that lack any finesse, or decent delivery to maximize the laughs. Much of the humor is dry, and although has adult components, lacks that clever zing that other films/programs do. James Corden rectifies this a little with High Fives self-absorbed personality, but even his banter gets stale after a while.  With all of the comedians in this movie, I really had expected more of this movie, but again missed potential.

 

Boring: If you haven’t gleamed it from the first two categories, then this should sum this up, Emoji movie is boring. There is no suspense to the adventure, and let’s face it no point, to the challenges at hand.  I found myself looking at the clock wondering how much longer I had in the ridiculous presentation of smart phone gimmicks.  Cute is always great, but it is better left to YouTube and Kid shows that are in short spans of time. Without the jokes to back it up, nor an impressive voice performance, there is just little to scream entertainment outside of watching a child’s smile light up at the colorful presentation.

 

The VERDICT:

 

You’ve seen the reviews of my colleagues, and they aren’t far from the truth… Emoji movie was a miss for Sony in terms of quality.  The lackluster jokes, lack of challenge, and reserved wit were not the right steps to take in this inconsistent adventure for success.  In fact, the best thing of this film is the animated short for Hotel Transylvania that precedes it.  Still, if you are looking for a safe, family trip to the movies, you’ve got the Emoji movie to save your bacon.  However, I highly recommend reserving this one for Netflix. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  4.0

Movie Overall:  2.0  

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Raunchy Party In The Office Tonight

christmas-party

 

Christmas office parties, a time-honored tradition that often brings us together to play some silly games, eat some preserved cheeses, and potentially get in a few holiday shenanigans.  So why not use this as a medium to make a holiday comedy to entertain the masses.  My review tonight is on the simplistically titled Office Christmas Party starring Jason Bateman, TJ Miller, Olivia Munn and Jennifer Aniston.  Will this comedy bring a twinkle to your Christmas season, or will it ruin your holiday like a bad cold? Robbie K here to share his opinions on the latest films to hit the big screen.

 

LIKES

  • Very funny
  • Clever at times
  • Kicking Soundtrack
  • Character Development

 

When you have a comedy, chances are you hope to laugh.  Good news, Office Christmas Party will deliver the laughs promised in the trailer. This film has a little something for everyone including crude genitalia jokes, one liners, slapstick comedy, and bathroom humor.  Our Hollywood writers continue to put out incredibly stupid lines that we eat up, but managed to time it very well to keep the laughs going.  Fans of TJ Miller and Kate McKinnon will get their fill of awkward rants, screaming dialogue, and ridiculous faces associated with the dialogue. Those who want a little more cleverness behind their comedy will also get their wish, for the office is packing a few puns and pokes geared towards the holiday season. These moments, as well as a few fart jokes, were my favorite, primarily seeing Jennifer Aniston whip out some angry moves on some extreme extras.

Yet what’s a comedy without a little music to amp the stupidity up?  Office Christmas Party has you covered here too, with a list of tracks to keep your feet moving in the aisles.  Hilarious raps mirror the theme of the scenes, while upbeat techno songs pave the way for high speed chases and epic party montages. It fit well with the overall theme of the movie, and having a character DJ bump most of them was another example of creativity.

And surprisingly the comedy has some character development that extended past a character getting laid or getting an ideal job.  This particular film did a decent job expanding on the cast, giving them some backstory that explained the challenges they were facing.  TJ Miller and Aniston’s family dynamics have some emotional moments to them, while Bateman and Munn have a conflicting lifestyle approaches that involve compromise.  Yes, it’s simplistic, but it’s a lot better than some of the other comedies out there who rely on shallow laughs.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Sometimes crosses over the line
  • Plot hitches/Concepts dropped
  • Jillian Bell’s Character

 

No surprise, R rated movies keep pushing the line more and more in order for more disturbing “unique” ideas to arrive.  Office Christmas Party crosses the inappropriate line at a few points often involving sexual humor, a few religious jabs, and carefree use of a gun.  These ideas, while funny to some, were a little too much for me and a little insensitive to some of the issues that are hot topics.  Fortunately, these are few and far between, but they may leave a mental imprint that can be hard to shake, and could have been left to an optional director’s cut.

Speaking of director’s cut, the editors of this film seem to be relying on an extended cut to help fill in some gaps.  There were times I felt they built up a particular concept or plot element, trying to amplify the trouble they could get into.  However, these elements were suddenly dropped, never to be followed up on.  Some of the bloopers also hint at these moments, supporting a potential added content to the movie.  While this isn’t the biggest dislike, I felt the editing could have been slightly reworked to add implement these points or at least smooth out the rough edges. 

Finally, Jillian Bell’s character was not my favorite.  It is more a personal issue, but her characters usually annoy me more than anything.  Her acting continues to be over the top and feels as if she is trying too hard to be funny.  Why she can’t have a more balanced role, or at least better writing, continues to baffle me, but again her screen time is fairly limited.  Perhaps it is also the fact that her character was pretty pointless, and really didn’t integrate into most of the party scenes.  Another example of not shooting first and thinking later.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Office Christmas Party fulfills its intended goals, as a mindless laugh fest meant to brighten your holidays.  It’s a very fun movie and has a little more character building dynamics that expand the movie past ridiculous levels of stupid. With all the comedic styles, most audience members should enjoy this film, but you’ve been warned that there are a few over-the-top moments that might be more offensive/uncomfortable for the more sensitive viewer.  Worth a trip to the theater?  In terms of having fun at the movies I think it warrants a visit, but otherwise hold out for it to hit Redbox.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy:  7

 

Movie Overall: 5.5