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UglyDolls (film)
UglyDolls (2019) theatrical poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kelly Asbury
Produced by
Screenplay by Alison Peck
Story by Robert Rodriguez
Starring
Music by Christopher Lennertz
Editing by
  • Julie Rogers
  • Nolan Southerland
Studio
  • STX Family
  • Reel FX Animation Studios
  • Alibaba Pictures
  • Huaxia Film Distribution
  • Original Force
  • Troublemaker Studios
Distributed by STX Entertainment
Release date(s) May 3, 2019 (2019-05-03) (United States)
Running time 87 minutes
Country
  • United States
  • Canada
  • China
Language English
Budget $45–53 million
Money made $32.5 million

UglyDolls is a 2019 computer-animated musical adventure-comedy film directed by Kelly Asbury and written by Alison Peck, from a story by Robert Rodriguez, who also produced. It is based on the plush toys of the same name by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, and follows a group of them as they try to find embracement from the real world despite their flaws. The film stars the voices of Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Nick Jonas, Pitbull, Blake Shelton, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Wang Leehom, Emma Roberts, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, and Lizzo.

UglyDolls was theatrically released in the United States on May 3, 2019 by STXFilms, the first animated film produced by the company. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who called it "well-meaning but derivative," and underperformed at the box office, grossing just $32 million worldwide. It was also the final film directed by Kelly Asbury before his death the following year.

Plot

In a hidden universe within a toy factory, deformed dolls, or "Uglies", are dropped into a tunnel leading to the secluded town of Uglyville. Among these dolls is Moxy, who dreams of the 'Big World' and being chosen for a child, despite Uglyville's Mayor Ox assuring her this is a myth. One day, Moxy enters the tunnel to find her way to the Big World, followed by her friends Wage, Ugly Dog, Lucky Bat, and Babo.

The Uglies discover the Institute of Perfection, where Perfect Dolls or "Pretties" are rigorously trained. The vain and superficial leader of the institute, Lou, tells the Uglies that they cannot hope to pass the training, or run the Gauntlet - an obstacle course based on a human house, which determines whether a doll can use the portal to the human world. Faced with Moxy's positivity, Lou eventually relents and lets them train; however, he sends his three Spy Girls to find out where the Uglies came from.

The Uglies' first days of training end in disaster. Mandy, one of the Pretties, sympathizes with them, as she has poor eyesight but can't wear glasses for fear of being labeled 'ugly' and put in the dreaded recycling center. She gives them some pointers, and helps them dress the part of a 'perfect doll'.

The Spy girls return with a kidnapped Ox, and Lou makes him admit to Moxy he actually knew about the Big World, as he had once trained with Lou for the Gauntlet and nearly passed. However, the Pretties turned on Ox, and Lou sent him down the tunnel, claiming he thought it led to safety. Ox found the recycling center there; seeing other dolls like himself being shredded up, he rerouted the tunnel and founded Uglyville at the other end.

Demoralized by the realization they are factory rejects, the entire town of Uglyville falls into despair, and Moxy resigns herself to her fate. Mandy follows her and encourages her to keep her faith, as it has given her and other imperfect Pretties hope that they might have a chance. Moxy agrees to return with Mandy to the Gauntlet, only to be waylaid by Lou, who has unblocked the Recycling center. He leaves Mandy and Moxy to be shredded, but Ox learns what has happened and rallies the Ugly Dolls to rescue the pair.

The entire population of Uglyville arrives at the Institute on the day of the Gauntlet. Moxy, Mandy, and several Uglies demand to be allowed to participate. Lou decides he and the Spy girls will run with them, secretly planning to sabotage the Uglies' chances. However, once in the Gauntlet, Lou shows his true colors as a coward, abandoning his comrades and leaving them to be saved by the Uglies.

Lou loses everyone's respect completely when he kicks a robot baby, making it cry. Moxy comforts the baby instead of finishing the course, prompting all but Lou to do the same. The system automatically passes them, since a Doll's true purpose is to make a child happy. Lou, however, is failed despite finishing the course and is forced to admit he is only a prototype and forbidden to leave the factory. When he saw Ox nearly pass the training, he couldn't bear to see an Ugly go to the human world when he, supposedly perfection itself, could not. He sabotaged Ox so he'd hopefully be killed in the recycling center.

Seeing everyone has turned on him, Lou smashes the portal to the human world out of spite. The Pretties capture and put Lou in a washing machine as punishment, but the portal is irrevocably destroyed. The Uglies and Pretties work together to build a brand new, permanently open-portal that does not require any training to pass back and forth through. They combine their towns into the City of Imperfection, still led by Mayor Ox. Moxy finally passes through the portal and is placed in the arms of her perfect child, Maizy, who has the same missing tooth as Moxy does.

During the credits, it is shown that several Uglies and Pretties have found their perfect human, while a bedraggled Lou has been demoted to janitorial duty.

Cast

  • Kelly Clarkson as Moxy, a pink uglydoll and the leader of the group with insatiable curiosity and limitless confidence. Her design is based on that of Gorgeous, a character from the original toyline.
  • Janelle Monáe as Mandy, a kindhearted lonely perfect doll who wears glasses for eyesight problems and befriends the Ugly Dolls
  • Nick Jonas as Lou, the spiteful, conceited, and preppy leader from the town of Perfection and a bully villain towards the Ugly Dolls and the other imperfect dolls
  • Blake Shelton as Ox, a green uglydoll and the Unofficial Mayor of Uglyville, mentor to all of the other Ugly Dolls and former friend of Lou
  • Pitbull as Ugly Dog, a one-eyed blue uglydoll (which is like a dog) and Moxy's closest/best friend
  • Wanda Sykes as Wage, an orange uglydoll and cynical baker who can be frequently found cooking up some amazing and inventive culinary concoctions
  • Wang Leehom as Lucky Bat, a red uglydoll and gentle and thoughtful bat-like adviser, but he is very shy and insecure about his abilities. He is loosely based on a red variant of Ice Bat.
  • Gabriel Iglesias as Babo, a grey uglydoll and the largest, soft-spoken and handiest of the Ugly Dolls
  • Emma Roberts as Wedgehead, the newest citizen of Uglyville
  • Bebe Rexha as Tuesday, a blue-haired perfect doll and one of the Spy Girls
  • Charli XCX as Kitty, a pink-haired perfect doll and one of the Spy Girls
  • Lizzo as Lydia, a purple-haired perfect doll and one of the Spy Girls
  • Ice-T as Peggy, a small one-eyed flying unicorn
  • Laura Nicole Harrison as Jumbotron
  • Jane Lynch as Scanner, Electronic Voice
  • Kelly Asbury as Gibberish Cat, Oliver, Chef, Buttons; this was also Mr. Asbury's final voice role before his death in 2020.
  • Natalie Martinez as Meghan, a lawyer/model
  • Stephen Zimpel as Michael, an engineer/model
  • Enrique Santos as Nolan, a not-so-perfect doll that Lou called Ugly in "The Ugly Truth"
  • Rob Riggle as Exposition Robot
  • Steven Schweickart as New Arrival
  • Afi Ekulona as Tray
  • Jacques Colimon as Sporko

Music

The film features original music from Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monáe, Bebe Rexha, Pentatonix, Anitta, and Why Don't We. The musical score is composed by Christopher Lennertz while songs are written by Lennertz and Glenn Slater. The film's soundtrack was released by Atlantic Records.

Clarkson's track "Broken & Beautiful" was released on March 27, 2019, prior to the album, as the soundtrack's lead single. The Brazilian singer Anitta contributed "Ugly" to the original soundtrack in English. She also recorded two alternative versions of "Ugly", one in Spanish and one in Portuguese, for their respective markets. These versions were released prior to the release of the film and are not included in the soundtrack in these markets.

Pitbull was also slated to have an original song for the film, which was to be a parody of "You Make My Dreams" by Daryl Hall and John Oates. However, Pitbull's contributions to the song were scrapped, as he broke the fourth wall as Uglydog. Pentatonix was then given the final version of the record, which was included in the movie's soundtrack. Pitbull's original version, titled "Dreams Come True", can be found on DJ record pools for promotional use.

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