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Cinema Dispatch: UglyDolls

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Ugly Dolls and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Kelly Asbury

So are Ugly Dolls even a thing?  I feel like it HAS to be a thing for this movie to even exist, but I’ve never heard of them and frankly the first thing that annoyed me about the trailers is how decidedly UN-ugly all the dolls were supposed to be.  What, are big eyes fuzzy skin on a doll all of a sudden outside of societal norms?  There’s no room in the world of the beautiful for dolls of non-humanoid proportions!?  See, this is the kind of thinking that gave Sonic straight human teeth, the portions of an Olympic runner, and the eyes of a soulless monster!  Say what you will about that Garbage Pail Kids movie, at least they knew what ugly meant!  Okay, that’s PROBABLY not the best grounds to dismiss an entire movie on, but with only the occasional trailer and buzz leading up to its release, it certainly doesn’t seem like this is gonna be the sleeper hit of the year.  Does it manage to defy expectations and be a really great movie despite how lacking the marketing has been, or are we doomed for yet another animated disaster in a year that already gave us Wonder Park?  Let’s find out!!

In the happy town of Uglyville, everyone is happy and always partying which is easy to do when so many of them are inexplicably great singers and love to narrate their lives through song!  One such resident is Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) who enjoys her simple life in this unassuming town of ugly dolls, but dreams of something more!  She wants to be part of OUR world, by which I mean she wants to be a doll for a kid and… I guess she’s just waiting around for it to happen?  Every morning she sings that THAT day will be THE day that she’ll get her own kid, but then just hangs out in Uglyville where no kids every come by.  Eventually Moxy realizes that this is probably not the BEST strategy, so she convinces a few of the other residents of Uglyville, Ugly Dog, Wage, Lucky Bat, and Babo (Pitbull, Wanda Sykes, Wang Leehorn, and Gabriel Iglesias) to accompany her on a journey to outside of town.  The only way out is also the only way in as there’s a giant tube in the side of a mountain that shoots out an ugly doll every once in a while to join the town, so she figures that they’ll climb up it and see where it goes.  It turns out that it goes to a town called Perfection which is full of Barbie knockoffs that have to go through rigorous training before being allowed to go through the pearly gates which… I guess is where they’ll be packed into plastic boxes and sold on store shelves to hopefully wind up in a kid’s hands.  The mechanics are a bit unclear, but the point is crystal!  Moxy and her friends will face these challenges that all the other dolls have to go through in order to PROVE THEIR WORTH and pass through the gates themselves!  However, the leader of Perfection named Lou (Nick Jonas) isn’t happy about these UGLY creatures fouling up his perfect little community and will do whatever it takes to stop them from achieving their dreams!  Can Moxy and her friends find a way to not only pass the ridiculous tests set before them but perhaps make a positive change in Perfection in the process?  Who is this doll named Mandy (Janelle Monáe) that keeps trying to help them, and what is her reason for doing so?  Is it just me, or is this an overly complicated version of college frat comedy?

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“UGLY HOOOOOOOUUUSE!!”     “Cheese it!”

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