UglyDolls film review: children deserve more subtlety and wit

Moxy (voiced by Kelly Clarkson) in UglyDolls.
Moxy (voiced by Kelly Clarkson) in UglyDolls.

WITH technology so advanced these days, the quality of a film can no longer be judged by the quality of its animation – case in point UglyDolls.

Based on a series of Hasbro toys, the UglyDolls in question are cast-offs from a toy factory, whisked down a pipe to live in Uglyville where “ugly” is a positive attribute and everyone is overwhelmingly happy all the time.

However Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) dreams of one day belonging to a child and so with the help of a rag-tag bunch of friends, sets off back up the pipe where they stumble upon The Institute of Perfection.

UglyDolls.

Here humanoid dolls are trained to become the perfect child’s toy under the instruction of blond-haired, blue-eyed Lou (Nick Jonas) who is treated like a rock star.

Lou lets the UglyDolls join in training, but it soon transpires that all is not as perfect as it seems.

The bright, colourful and slick animation of this film is like candy for the eyes; you feel like you should be having a fun time but too much and you end up getting a headache.

Despite an all star cast of musical talent including Janelle Monae, Blake Shelton, Charli XCX, Lizzo and even Pitbull, the songs are forgettable and are visualised more as music videos rather than in context, which takes you out of the story.

UglyDolls.

The plot is so transparently promoting such a basic “our differences make us special” message that the majority of the film feel like filler as we wait for the characters to catch up and learn this lesson already.

Attempts at jokes for the parents might crack a smile, but children deserve films with a bit more subtlety and wit.

THE ESSENTIALS

UglyDolls (G)

Directed by: Kelly Asbury

Starring: Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, Nick Jonas

Two and a half stars

Review by: Lucy Rutherford

In cinemas September 26

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