HOLLYWOOD—I couldn’t help, but constantly compare the animated flick “UglyDolls” to the movie “Trolls.” It was that flick that had that catchy-tune by Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” However, as the audience gets deeper into the narrative these two films are so different. I thought “Trolls” was full of frenetic energy and music that placed you in a great mood. Did the flick have a message? Of course, but I feel the message of “UglyDolls” has more depth and resonates in a big way.
The movie revolves around dolls that are perfect and dolls that are not so perfect. The perfect dolls get shipped to the perfect child, while the ugly dolls are forced to live in seclusion with a bunch of ugly dolls. At the core of the story is Moxy (voice of Kelly Clarkson), who wants to see the glimmer of light and to achieve the opportunity to visit the ‘Big World’ and be paired up with a child.
Think of “UglyDolls” as a film that forces the viewer (while its target audience is children), to not be afraid of embracing the person they are, flaws and all. Moxy’s dreams are slightly dashed by the Mayor of Uglyville, Ox (voice of Blake Shelton) who wants her to get outside of the fantasy world in her head. Determined to prove him wrong, Moxy journeys to that ‘hole’ that is a path to the ‘Big World’ with pals Lucky Bat (voice of Wang Leehom), Ugly Dog (voice of Pitbull), Babo (voice of Gabriel Iglesias) and Wage (voice of Wanda Sykes).
The journey takes them to the Institute of Perfection where dolls are tested to ensure no imperfections exist. It is here that the dolls meet Lou (voice of Nick Jonas), who is deemed the perfect doll, at least on the outside, but the inside is another story. Lou despises the ugly dolls, while Mandy (voice of Janelle Monae) is more accepting of Moxy and those dolls not deemed perfect by societal standards.
The message of this movie is so powerful, because we currently live in a society where one’s imperfections are put in the spotlight; rather it’s via social media or bullying. “UglyDolls” does an exceptional job of conveying to its audience there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION! Even though society attempts to drill that message to us time and time again, it’s a myth; don’t listen to what others say, embrace your uniqueness. That theme of uniqueness is so inclusive and celebrated in the movie through a variety of characters; it leaves the audience with a warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart.
There is no question the audience will identify with Moxy, we understand Ox’s reasoning behind his actions, and we sense Lou’s fear of being exposed. Each of our core characters have inner struggles and it’s thru those struggles that we see the truth exposed: perfection is an idea, it’s not realistic. I went into the theater expecting the worst out of “UglyDolls” and left the theater with the biggest smile on my face.
It was a treat to watch a movie that embraces being different, not going with societal norms; something that we rarely see in the cinematic universe nowadays. This isn’t a movie just for kids, but for adults as well, because the message is so grand it forces you to take a hard look in the mirror and embrace your quirkiness, differences and the things that make you, you!