Director Kelly Asbury’s new animated feature UglyDolls is a drastically forgettable and unfortunately uninspiring tale.
In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weirdness is celebrated, strangeness is special and beauty is embraced as more than meets the eye. After traveling to the other side of a mountain, Moxy and her UglyDoll friends discover Perfection — a town where more conventional dolls receive training before entering the real world to find the love of a child. Soon, the UglyDolls learn what it means to be different — ultimately realizing that they don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.
Right off the bat, the biggest issue that UglyDolls has is its characters. Throughout the duration of the film, we are supposed to feel a ton of sympathy towards them and they are supposed to be likeable characters due to their sense of humor, but that is exactly why I genuinely did not like the characters. The comedy present in this film is some of the weakest I have seen in quite some time. It is on the same level as this year’s The Hustle, a film that was clearly making a big attempt at being a hilarious film but fell flat on virtually every single level, which is exactly what UglyDolls does as well.
Do not get me wrong, I do greatly appreciate the message of the movie, that being that you are beautiful no matter what you look like, but it would have been better to see this message in a better movie. This concept should have been tackled by a studio such as Pixar or Disney because we almost certainly would have had a significantly better film.
The music involved in the film is quite frustrating to listen to at times as well. In fact, the trailer for the film basically only had pop music playing throughout it in hopes that younger children would want to see it because they heard a song they really enjoy. I am completely okay with music in children’s films if the songs are well made, such as “How Far I’ll Go” from the smash hit Moana, but this film does not have one single memorable song.
However, the voice acting in the film is quite good and the talent roster is extremely impressive with Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas and Janelle Monáe being the true standouts here. You can tell that they did put a lot of effort into voicing these characters which is a greatly admirable thing.
Additionally, it is a visually appealing film that is oozing with a plethora of colors in practically every scene, making the film quite nice to look at, even if everything else surrounding it is less than appealing.
UglyDolls is an unfunny and forgettable story with musical numbers that feel forced, even if it had good intentions with its message.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and brief action
Cast: Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Wang Leehorn, Pitbull, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Lizzo
Directed by: Kelly Asbury
Distributed by: STX Entertainment
Running Time: 87 minutes