UglyDolls Review

UglyDolls Poster

In the past few years, STXFilms has put together a slate of films that are studio budget friendly and appeals to the entire masses. Now the independent studio is going to a genre that they’ve never been to before: Animation. But is their first animated film a hit or a miss?

Thankfully, UglyDolls delivers on a deep level but the film’s lackluster humor and generic animation ultimately bring the film down.

UglyDolls follows a ragtag crew of rejected dolls who venture into the Institute of Perfection, a place where the most perfect dolls reside. Here they must overcome various challenges if they’re ever going to live their dream of being loved by a child.

UglyDolls - Kelly Clarkson, Gabriel Iglesias, Pitbull, and Wanda Sykes

As you can imagine with an animated musical such as this, the film relies heavily on its music and humor to tell its story. Unfortunately, the film succeeds in only one thing. The humor in the film is a bit of a hit or miss. A lot of the adolescent humor gets the least amount of laughs in the film—even for the kids in my audience. There are a few gems in there but they’re more of a rarity than the norm. But there is a more mature, parody-like humor in the film that’ll definitely get some laughs out of the older people in the crowd.

And what kind of thing does UglyDolls parody? Modern society and the facade of living the perfect life, of course. Not only is that the source of much of the laughs, but it’s also the source of a lot of the film’s emotion as well. In a world where places like Instagram or Snapchat tries to paint a perfect life, UglyDolls reminds people that you don’t have to be perfect to have a fun and exciting life. Just be yourself.

If you want to randomly bust out with a song then you can do that too. Especially since our heroes in the film does do that a lot. Thankfully, the music in the film is fun, catchy, and poppy. The lyrics in the song serves as a vehicle to deliver the film’s most important messages. That being said, the film is really predictable. If you’ve seen these kinds of films before then you know what you’re getting into with UglyDolls.

UglyDolls - Nick Jonas

For a film called UglyDolls, the character designs make them look quite adorable. They’re ugly in terms of NOT being perfect, but that’s why we like them. Not to mention, the characters are well-animated and nicely detailed. Yet as well as the characters look, the rest of the animation doesn’t fare as well. The backgrounds for certain scenes aren’t dynamic nor energetic but simple animation movements.

Despite her questionable feature film debut in From Justin to Kelly, Kelly Clarkson has made some big strides since then. Kelly Clarkson brings an incredibly likable and energetic performance as Moxy. She’s the heart of the film and the main reason why you root for these lovable creatures. The same can be said about Janelle Monae who brings an inherent sweetness and warmth to her non-ugly character, Mandy.

But major credit should go to Nick Jonas who had a blast playing the film’s antagonist, Lou. He’s the character you’ll begin to absolutely loathe and dislike throughout the film. He’s just so rotten that you want the worst things to happen to his character. That’s the mark of a good performance when you completely have such a dislike for a character.

Overall, UglyDolls is a sweet and honest commentary about modern society. Now that might sound heavy for a children’s film but the music and animation will entertain the kids in this relatively short film. Unfortunately, the film tries too hard to be funny and tries too hard to be like the rest of the big animation studios out there. Despite all that, STXFamily has done well with its first foray into animation. Who knows with a bit more work, they might be the next big animation studio.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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