Janelle MonáeKelly Clarkson...
In 1 Cinema
Animation features have a tricky issue when it comes to choosing their audience. While some firmly choose to either stick to children or have something for both children and adults, some get lost in the middle. UglyDolls seems to be for five-year-olds, but then it tries to aim higher, and it does not go so well.
UglyDolls follows fluffy pink doll Moxy in her town of Uglyville, where all kinds of unconventional dolls live embracing their quirks and differences. Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) is very cheerful and upbeat, but she only has one wish which is to go out to the Big World to be loved by a child. One day when Moxy has had enough of hoping, she convinces her one-eyed dog best friend Uglydog (Pitbull), the “claimed” wisest of the town Lucky Bat (Leehom Wang), the muscled helper Bobo (Gabriel Iglesias), and her reluctant friend Wage (Wanda Sykes) to help her find the Big World. What Moxy doesn’t know is that Uglyville is located in the far end of a doll factory for all the faulty dolls. But can she find the Big World and finally feel loved by a child or will her imperfections get in the way?
The concept of the plot is interesting because many do not think of what actually happens to the faulty dolls, where they go, and the idea of them creating a society that embraces differences and does not seek unrealistic perfection is a great analogy.
However, many other elements are not as original or creative; Moxy wanting desperately to be loved by a child and dragging a group of toys in with her for an adventure sounds a lot like the plot of the classic Toy Story.
The messages of the film about being confident in who you are and the way you look, body positive affirmations, and fighting against conformity are all extremely relevant and essential for audiences today. However, these messages are muddled by the constant bursting into songs, as well as the aim to convey more than one related, but not equivalent, message.
UglyDolls launches into a song every couple of minutes, often when it is not really necessary, but the main issue with the songs is that, while they are very poppy, their lyrics are not well written and are forgotten as soon as they are over.
The animation of the film is not especially impressive since, while it is vividly colourful, the characters do not seem to have a lot of sophistication in their design, and neither do the few locations that the feature is set in.
Voice acting standouts were Kelly Clarkson and Pitbull, with Wanda Sykes and Nick Jonas (playing devious Lou) as close seconds.
Its heart was in the right place, but you will probably watch UglyDolls and forget about it all in the same day.