UglyDolls is a 2019 animated musical comedy film directed by Kelly Asbury. The film stars Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Wang Leehom, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Lizzo, Nick Jonas, and Pitbull. The film was distributed by STX Entertainment and animated by Reel FX Creative Studios.
In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weirdness is celebrated, strangeness is special and beauty is embraced as more than meets the eye. After traveling to the other side of a mountain, Moxy and her UglyDoll friends discover Perfection -- a town where more conventional dolls receive training before entering the real world to find the love of a child. Soon, the UglyDolls learn what it means to be different -- ultimately realizing that they don't have to be perfect to be amazing.
- Similar to The Emoji Movie, the film feels like it was most likely made just to advertise the UglyDolls series of plushes. It's basically a commercial but disguised as a movie on the inside.
- It is also similar to films such as The Angry Birds Movie, in that it is based on something that isn't popular these days, although the aforementioned film was executed well despite not being any better.
- Character error: When Mandy turns around to walk out the door, she bumps into the wall and drops her glasses. After she gets her glasses back, she bumps into the same wall again. She can still see the wall even without her glasses on, even though she has blurry vision. So it's very likely she was distracted and wasn't being careful or paying attention to where she was walking to, even though she would feel the door.
- Failed attempts at humor, with the biggest offenders being the Gibberish Cat gag and the line "I'm an individual, just like all of you".
- The Gibberish Cat also appears multiple times throughout the movie, with the same animation and line of dialogue. In fact, the Gibberish Cat gag is literally the entire end credits scene.
- Certain characters just come off as incredibly annoying and can be mean-spirited at times:
- Notably, Moxy is annoying and uninteresting, as she is overconfident.
- Lou is a stereotypical leader who is obsessed with fashion and praising people solely for their looks, and as a result, he is a generic antagonist.
- For some reason, Moxy knows about the big world without there being a scene showing how she began her belief.
- While the animation itself is pretty good, the visual style it goes for feels a little too reminiscent of the Trolls movies.
- Like Cats, some of the voice cast aren't even singers, like Wanda Sykes. The non-singers don't do well in their parts to sing.
- The perfect dolls look like prep school students, even though they are actually adults. They also look more like humans than convincing dolls.
- The Spy Girls' redemptions are forced on the audience even though they kidnapped and nearly killed Moxy and Mandy, and therefore, they should be punished along with Lou.
- Pointless pop culture references, such as the film pausing to shove in an Oliver Twist reference.
- The UglyDolls and perfect dolls aren't even all that unique. All of the character groups look the same.
- Misleading title: The designs for the UglyDolls are really not that ugly at all, as they've been "cutesified" to appeal to kids.
- The camera, which scans on Moxy, randomly says "Tell my family I love them..." before breaking.
- There is a scene in which the Ice Bat is sinking in with the boat, indicating that he is attempting to commit suicide, but luckily survives, which is inappropriate for a children's film.
- The animation is actually good and way better than expected, especially since it was made by the studio Reel FX Animation Studios, the same company that animated Free Birds, The Book of Life, the first Rock Dog movie, and Scoob!.
- The ending isn't too bad.
- Despite being a generic antagonist, Lou is a really fun character.
- Decent voice acting:
- Nick Jonas in particular gives off a surprisingly fun performance.
- Kelly's voice acting is certainly an improvement from From Justin to Kelly.
- The decent acting can lead to some fun deliveries. For example, the line "okay, the big world and children do not exist" isn't all that funny, but the way Wanda Sykes says it is "OK, the Big World and children, DO. NOT. EXIST." does make it work.
- Some funny moments here and there:
- Wage's mental breakdown when Uglyville falls into depression.
- Wedgehead getting her name via falling out of a pipe.
- These quotes:
- "Hey, that's the name of our song!"
- "I don't wanna miss this week's episode of Uglyville's got no talent!"
- Most of the music and songs are actually really nice, especially with The Ugly Truth, being a fantastic villain song, making the scene it appears in the most entertaining scene in the movie.
- In fact, Christopher Lennertz's musical score is really nice as well.
- The moral, despite being generic, is actually still important to this day.
- Wage, Mandy, and Lucky Bat are all likable characters.
- Lou's backstory, despite being generic, is a bit sad. It also gives viewers an idea about how prototype products work.
- The scene where Ox tells Moxy and her UglyDolls the truth about perfection, which makes Moxy cry and feel guilty, is heartbreaking and emotional.
- The idea of dolls being outcast, despite being cliched, is very nice.
UglyDolls ended up receiving generally negative reviews from critics, as well as receiving mixed reviews from audiences. It currently holds a 28% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a 54% audience score, with its critical consensus saying, "Very young viewers may be entertained by UglyDolls, if only because they're less likely to recognize the many familiar elements in its affirmative yet formulaic story." It holds a 5.1 on IMDb, as well as a 39 on Metacritic, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Many have found it to be "cliched and blandly animated", while others have found it to be a ripoff of many other films, notably Trolls and Toy Story.
UglyDolls flopped at the box office, with only $32 million being grossed over its $45-53 million budget; some believe that this was because it was released at the time Avengers: Endgame and Pokémon Detective Pikachu were still in theaters.
- This was the last film to be directed by Kelly Asbury before his death in 2020.