‘UglyDolls’ | Film Review: What Was I Expecting?

Does anybody remember when UglyDolls were a thing? Yes, this latest animated movie was based on the plush toyline of the same name that first came out in 2001. Director Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo & Juliet, Smurfs: The Lost Village) and producer Robert Rodriguez wants us to believe UglyDolls will be “the musical event of the year”. It’s not much that when it’s just a commercial to sell toys.

In the town of Uglyville, where rejected toys can live in harmony, Moxy (voiced by Kelly Clarkson) is a very optimistic doll that dreams of becoming someone’s doll to love. She and her friends Ugly Dog (Pitbull), Wage (Wanda Sykes), Lucky Bat (Wang Leehom), and Babo (Gabriel Iglesias) travel to find out and stumble upon the Institue of Perfection, a place where dolls are to be trained to find the love of a child that’s run by Lou (Nick Jonas).

Gabriel Iglesias, Wanda Sykes, Leehom Wang, Kelly Clarkson, and Pitbull in UglyDolls (2019)

The fact that I’ve seen the trailers for UglyDolls in front of almost every family movie is a sure bet that this is going to be an annoying experience to sit through 87 minutes. If you’re thinking this looks like other animated movies like Trolls, or anything from Pixar, then you’re correct. Not only that, but I already knew this will be fairly predictable and will just rely on the music to make its viewers feel some kind of emotion. Was I right? Pretty much since UglyDolls was generic in every sense of the word.

Nothing about the colorful animation looks like anything that should be released in theaters. It’s not groundbreaking, and it has the same appeal for something that should’ve been a special on Universal Kids or anywhere else. The story doesn’t have anything new to say, so what’s the point of talking about it when it’s formulaic for those under the age of ten would understand?

The voice talents in this are still questionable after watching when I don’t understand why the majority of them are singers that can sing a song whenever the script needs to? Contributing to the songs, I guess? Other than lend their voices to the movie are Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Lizzo, and a wasted Emma Roberts.

You keep forgetting the fact that this is also a musical, and the original pop music is about as generic as it can get. You want a movie where there’s a song about how ugly you truly are entitled “The Ugly Truth”, this is your chance. If there was one song that was a little catchy, it would probably be “Unbreakable”, sung by Monáe and Clarkson.

Is it funny enough for kids? Maybe. The adults will have to tolerate the idiotic humor that’s dull. The times where it throws in a self-aware joke doesn’t even make me crack a smile. I did almost chuckle at this Oliver Twist gag, but it didn’t succeed.

Ice-T, Gabriel Iglesias, Wanda Sykes, Leehom Wang, Kelly Clarkson, and Pitbull in UglyDolls (2019)

It feels weird disliking a movie that’s made for kids, but UglyDolls wasn’t enjoyable. It wants to provide the simple message about it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that matters, or it’s our flaws that make us who we are, but it doesn’t do enough to convey that point in a good way. Little kids might be fond of what’s happening. UglyDolls is one of those animated movies that I wouldn’t show to my future children when I can show them other movies that are WAY better than this.

Grade: D+

Cast: Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monáe, Pitbull, Wanda Sykes, Wang Leehom, Gabriel Iglesias, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Lizzo, and Emma Roberts

Director: Kelly Asbury | Writer: Alison Peck

Runtime: 87 Minutes

Studio: STX Entertainment

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