July 29, 2019  (Web Review)


Universal, 88 min., PG, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.98, July 30

Reviewer rating: 1.0/4

Propelled by powerhouse merchandising, UglyDolls is a specialty brand. Along with the colorful, fuzzy felt toys, there are T-shirts, nightgowns, blankets, figurines, and a Pez dispenser. Blandly scripted by Alison Peck and tediously directed by Kelly Asbury, this animated film relies on the dubious appeal of its pop-star voiced animated characters. Pink, gap-toothed Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) awakens every morning believing that this will be the day she’s adopted and loved by a human child. Her spunky attitude is contagious, convincing neighbors that a better future lies ahead. What Moxy doesn’t know is that she and her flawed friends—Babo (Gabriel Iglesias), Ugly Dog (Pitbull), Wedgehead (Emma Roberts), and Wage (Wanda Sykes)—are factory rejects. Instead of heading to Perfection, they’ve been dumped in Uglyville, where Mayor Ox (Blake Shelton) keeps everyone in peaceful ignorance. But curious Moxy wants to venture into the outside world, where the Institute of Perfection’s judgmental guru/crooner Lou (Nick Jonas) forbids stains, smudges, and smells, condemning insolent insurgents to the washing machine. Eventually, they all learn that nobody’s really perfect and to value one’s individuality. Very formulaic and predictable, UglyDolls is a preachy and lethargic film that serves as a blatant infomercial for plush Hasbro toys. Not recommended. [Note: DVD/Blu-ray extras include a sing-along edition of the film, a “making-of” featurette (5 min.), and a cast featurette (5 min.). Bottom line: a small extras package for a forgettable film.] (S. Granger)