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UglyDolls Movie Review: Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

The film drives home the belief that different is cool and far from ugly.

Reviewed by on May 02, 2019
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw UglyDolls, an animated musical featuring voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Pitbull, Janelle Monáe, and Blake Shelton. Will kids, tweens and teens enjoy the film? Check our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Uglyville, live a mostly happy group of UglyDolls, malformed rejects from a toy factory from where only perfect dolls are sent to live their dolly lives with loving children. Most of the residents are okay with their fate but not Moxy (Kelly Clarkson), a pink, fuzzy doll with only three teeth who believes that there is a Big World beyond Uglyville where she can find children to love her and the others despite what mayor Ox (Blake Shelton) says. After making her way out of the city, along with friends shy village thinker Lucky Bat (Wang Leehom), easy-going Ugly Dog (Pitbull), cynical baker Wage (Wanda Sykes), and over-sized, soft-spoken Babo (Gabriel Iglesias), Moxy finds The Institute of Perfection. Will this discovery ever lead to a loving child for all UglyDolls?

UglyDolls Trailer


Uglyville is a land of fun and plentyUglyville is a land of fun and plentyCourtesy of STXfilms

Goodbye Uglyville

Most of the malformed dolls living in coastal Uglyville celebrate their unique forms and are happy but little pink Moxy is sure there is more in the Big World outside. She feels that all dolls have a child in the world to love them. Despite naysayers, she and a few friends go through a tunnel and slide into the Big World at the Institute of Perfection where perfect dolls train until they are ready to be matched with a child. After being rejected by machinery as “different” they are brought before perfect-looking doll Lou (Nick Jonas) the head of the institute who tells them they must pass The Gauntlet if they ever want to belong to a child. Of course they are so ugly, even this probably won’t work.

In the beginning, Moxy and Ugly Dog were happyIn the beginning, Moxy and Ugly Dog were happyCourtesy of STXfilms

Destroy Uglyville

Lou decides to keep the UglyDolls nearby while he figures out how to destroy Uglyville. He can’t have other rejects coming his way. One semi-perfect (she secretly wears glasses) doll named Mandy (Janelle Monáe) feels a kinship with the Uglies and befriends them secretly.

Mandy befriends UglyDoll MoxyMandy befriends UglyDoll MoxyCourtesy of STXfilms

Meanwhile, Lou sends three girl doll spies Tuesday (Bebe Rexha), Kitty (Charli XCX), and Lydia (Lizzo), into Uglyville to kidnap mayor Ox who used to be living in the Big World as a friend of Lou until he was banished . He created Uglyville where flawed dolls like him could live in peace and joy. He opted to keep the outside world a secret from his fellow UglyDolls.

Perfect Lou (Nick Jonas) rules the land of PerfectionPerfect Lou (Nick Jonas) rules the land of PerfectionCourtesy of STXfilms

Training and The Return

Moxy and the other Uglies go through “perfect” training but manage to always have a bit too much fun and get dirty. As punishment they are all thrown into a washing machine, time and again. This is getting annoying for them. Once Ox’s story is revealed, Moxy is demoralized and she and her friends return, defeated to Uglyville abandoning her quest for a child to love her. Hearing the news, all dolls in Uglyville become depressed. Mandy visits Moxy and convinces her that she has to ignore Lou and the other “pretty” dolls. She needs to return to the institute and go through The Gauntlet but Moxy and Mandy are grabbed by the Spy Girls before Moxy can do so. Lou puts them into a death-trap recycling bin that will ground them to bits! They are rescued by Moxy’s pals.

The three Spy DollsThe three Spy DollsCourtesy of STXfilms

The Gauntlet

The group decides to stay and go through the Gauntlet after all. Lou, to prove his worth and retain his high position, goes with them. The ultimate test includes recreations of real-life threats dolls have to face once they belong to a child; destructive babies, vacuum cleaners, attacking dogs and more. Can Moxy and the group make it through? Can Moxy forgive Ox for keeping the secret of the outside world from the Uglies? Can Uglies and perfect dolls live together in peace and friendship? Will the Uglies ever belong to children who love them?

Lucky Bat finds Mandy's glasses while everyone looks onLucky Bat finds Mandy's glasses while everyone looks onCourtesy of STXfilms

Wrapping Up

Individuality beats conformity, question the motives of authority figures, what makes you different makes you unique so let your freak flag fly!, these are some the positive messages of UglyDolls. The film has elements of the classic Toy Story films but before the toys ever belong to a kid. Although the only song I was familiar with was “Unbreakable”, story-related music sung by talented artists like Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monáe, Nick Jonas, Pitbull and more make the film entertaining for adults, kids and teens.

Ugly Dog (Pitbull) entertainsUgly Dog (Pitbull) entertainsCourtesy of STXfilms

Song list includes:  “Broken & Beautiful” – Kelly Clarkson, “Couldn’t Be Better (Pop Version)” – Kelly, “Today’s the Day” – Kelly,  “Couldn’t Be Better (Movie Version)” – Kelly and the UglyDolls Cast, “Today’s the (Perfect) Day” – UglyDolls Cast, “The Ugly Truth” – Nick Jonas, “You Make My Dreams” – Pentatonix, “The Uglier Truth” – Nick Jonas,  “All Dolled Up” – Janelle Monáe (feat. Kelly), “Girl in the Mirror” – Bebe Rexha,  “Ugly” – Anitta, “Wallflowers & Weeds” – Blake Shelton and the popular “Unbreakable” by Janelle and Kelly.

Animation isn’t as crisp and detailed as the Pixar product you’ve seen but it is colorful and creative. Some of the story is a bit repetitive (Spy Girls go to Uglyville twice on kidnapping missions) but our audience came out of the movie feeling uplifted and proud of imperfection. We can go three stars.

UglyDolls Movie Rating: 3

UglyDolls Movie PosterCourtesy of STXfilms

See UglyDolls in theaters now!

Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

Were you familiar with UglyDolls? Are/were some of your toys a bit off-beat or not perfect? Is that why you love/loved them? Do you let your own freak flag fly? It’s a great topic. Let’s all discuss it with a comment and/or on your Kidzworld profile page!