Film Review: UglyDolls

by Julia DeKorte | 30 Jun 2023

Book Reviews

UglyDolls is a perfectly charming film with a wonderful message for young children. The animated movie stars the brightly colored and optimistic Moxy, who lives in Uglyville, where deformed dolls and toys end up. Every day, she dreams of being chosen and loved by a child in the “Big World,” and one day, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She, along with a crew of her friends, venture out of Uglyville and end up at the Institute of Perfection, where dolls that were not deformed, the “Pretties,” went for rigorous training so that they may enter the Big World and find a child to love and be loved by. The leader of the institute, Lou, immediately tells Moxy and her friends that they could never survive the Gauntlet, an obstacle course simulating the disasters a doll might face in a real human house. However, ever-positive Moxy insists she and her friends can survive the Gauntlet, and Lou allows them to train alongside the Pretties. Faced by long, difficult days of training, harsh and disapproving looks from Pretties, Moxy and her friends try their very best to show that true beauty is on the inside, not the outside.


When the day of the Gauntlet arrives, Lou himself announces he's going to compete, something the Institute of Perfection hasn't seen before. Inside the simulated house, Lou, Moxy and her friends, and other teams compete to win the game -- but only one team does, and it's not what anyone expected.


Not unlike The Secret Life of Pets and Toy Story, UglyDolls gives kids an insight into the life of toys when they’re not looking. The film is especially great for younger audiences who are maybe going through a period of growth and understanding their bodies. UglyDolls shows kids that it’s okay to be different – in fact, it’s something to celebrate. As Moxy and her friends try to fit in with the Pretties, they end up learning that they are lovable and delightful exactly the way they are.


Almost like a younger sister to Trolls, UglyDolls has many fun musical numbers, quirky and unique characters, and most importantly, an utterly positive and pink main character that is on a mission. UglyDolls also sports a fantastic cast, with Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Nick Jonas, Lizzo, Charli XCX, Ice-T, Emma Roberts, and Bebe Rexha all voicing different characters. The musical numbers are upbeat and fun to sing-along to, and the characters are easy to love and root for.


The film by STX Films is based on the series of plush toys created by Sun-Min Kim, now owned by Hasbro. The movie versions of the toys look just as soft and huggable as the real ones, pointing to excellent animation. Overall, the film was a cheery and happy reminder that beauty comes from within.

uglydolls stx films moxy

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