UglyDolls (2019)

UglyDolls (2019) Cover

UglyDolls feels wrong to not like, as it has a message about loving yourself and appreciating the differences in one another. However, this standard run-of-the-mill throw-away animation is boring due its uncreative storytelling that feels like something that would be seen on Nick Jr.

An UglyDoll named Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) wishes to venture outside the borders of Uglyville, a town where oddly shaped plush dolls exist with one another, hoping to find a human child whom she can bring joy. One day, her and her group of friends stumble upon The Institute of Perfection, where human-like dolls compete in a series of tests, known as the Gauntlet, in order to be placed with a human child. Leader Lou (Nick Jonas) initially rejects the UglyDolls participation, but Moxy’s eagerness and optimism changes his mind. However, Lou will do everything possible to stack the odds against our main characters.

The primary issue with UglyDolls is that it doesn’t do anything to get the audience to think or wonder. There’s no suspense because you should be able to figure out how the story will end. There’s no emotional reason for wanting to watch because the characters, while likeable (if you don’t find their over-optimism to be annoying), don’t feel relatable, but contrived. The drama is not creative enough to genuinely take interest in what might happen. Subpar is the one word to describe various elements of the animation.

In a world where Pixar exists, it is difficult to not mention how bland this film looks. UglyDolls is STXEntertainment’s first animated film to be produced and while it is not unwatchable, it is not nearly as aesthetically pleasing to look at as the eye-candy visuals that Disney has spoiled us with.

The generic pop music sung by an ensemble of known musicians (clearly for marketing purposes) has a couple of catchy tunes, but nothing that stood out or made me run to Spotify to add to my everyday playlist. Several songs sound familiar.

It could be argued that this is a kid’s movie and that it does not need to be that deep. However, we’ve seen several films released that have appealed to both older and younger audiences. This film might only mildly appeal to very young children and if you want them to see an approving message on self-worth, it might be worth taking them. Be forewarned: It’s lucky that there was only a short hour and thirty minutes to sit through, as I spent almost every one of those minutes waiting for it to end. While POKÉMON: Detective Pikachu (releases May 10th) has its own set of issues, I’d recommend that over this; sheerly due to the effort Pikachu puts into its plot elements, which make it slightly more entertaining.

As the film was about to end, several families including their kids began to exit the theatre that I saw this in, which affirmed my belief that audiences will be ready to leave by the time, or even before, the film ends.

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

Directed by: Kelly Asbury

Final Verdict:UglyDolls really is ugly in terms of its animation quality and despite the positive messages, the movie is very uncreative and fails to tell an engaging story.