Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 by Hoai-Tran Bui
When UglyDolls opened with a scene of faceless dolls being manufactured on an assembly line, I wondered if it was being too on the nose. But subtlety, or irony, are not words that exist in the vocabulary of the STX Entertainment CG-animated movie, which produces as many empty platitudes and hollow proverbs about self-love as there are versions of UglyDolls.
Directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo and Juliet), UglyDolls is a movie designed for maximum outreach and replayability. In the ongoing content vs. cinema debate, UglyDolls falls squarely in the “content” arena: Its musical sequences presented like bright pop music videos, its characters made cute and non-threatening, its sweet self-empowering messages packaged up in tidy little bows. But the great tragedy of this shiny product is that the plush toyline upon which its based was a truly inspired creation made by two friends, David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, who simply wanted to share their colorful characters with the world. Instead, their toyline has produced an empty piece of corporate media.