Ugly Dolls Movie Review: A great message hampered by weak treatment
The narrative spends a little too much time in putting Moxy ((Kelly Clarkson) and friends down, glossing over their imperfections and making futile attempts to make them look good with makeovers
U/A: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: Kelly Clarkson, Pitbull, Nick Jonas, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monáe, Emma Roberts, Wang Leehom
Director: Kelly Asbury
A well-meaning animation musical adventure, this film, based on a toy line, is vibrantly colourful and has great music and catchy songs but the lack of narrative pizazz dulls the enjoyment. The film talks about accepting differences, loving yourself, peer pressure, being critical of messages in media and of social media generated popularity, leading up to how perseverance pays rich dividends eventually etc. – so it's not a generic, meaningless flight of fancy. This film certainly has depth but the engagement is not absolute.
Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) lives in Uglyville with other rejected peers but she never gives up hope of finding a child who will adore her for what she is. Impatient for the outside world to find her, she takes her loyal friends: lovable big lug Babo (Gabriel Iglesias), slick Ugly Dog (Pitbull), shy Lucky Bat (Leehom Wang), and cranky Wage (Wanda Sykes), to the outside world bridged by the Institute of Perfection, controlled by uber-chic Lou (Nick Jonas) – also considered the God of perfection. That is pretty much where pretty assembly line dolls go to grow "from pretty to perfect."
After toying a bit with Moxy and her friends' desire to be perfect, the narrative branches out into a more fulfilling array of thought. Is it really necessary to be perfect or is it necessary to be loved for what and who you are?
The messaging is clear and coherent. The colourful visuals are bright and appealing, the animation craft is of high order and the storyline has enough meat to be meaningful. It's the plotting really, that makes this film tend to tedium. The narrative spends a little too much time in putting Moxy and friends down, glossing over their imperfections (which are obvious) and making futile attempts to make them look good with makeovers. The 'Loving yourself, differences et all' messaging comes through no doubt, but it doesn't feel emphatic enough given the rather complicated plotting …and neither is the narrative entirely entertaining.
Watch Ugly Dolls Trailer
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