Parents' Guide to


By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Sweet visuals and songs are complicated by mixed messages.

Movie PG 2019 88 minutes
UglyDolls Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 27 parent reviews

age 18+

Don't give in like I did. Hard pass.

The heartwarming message of this movie is, "It's ok to be ugly!" Seriously, this movie is that tone deaf. My kids saw this movie on an airplane and we watched it later at home. Ugh. Tried not to rain on their parade too much, but even skipping the horrible parts just leaves you with the bad stuff.
2 people found this helpful.
age 4+

Dumb storyline

I am so tired of American kids movies teaching all our kids to “love themselves”. What happened to overcoming true obstacles, showing incredible love for people besides yourself, being courageous and brave for a real cause? I really wish the movie world would come up with another lesson besides teaching kids to examine if they like themselves all the time. Seriously... there are much greater things in the world to strive for. I would rather my kids watch marvel movies of self sacrifice and protecting others than anymore of this awful selfish lesson Hollywood likes to push on young kids. Please strive for something beyond obsessing over self image little ones...
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (27):
Kids say (31):

The visuals are bright and appealing, the songs are catchy, and the toy-looking-for-love setup is sweet enough to appeal to kids and adults alike. But there are more mixed messages about looks and self-worth in UglyDolls than many parents will be comfortable with. True, the movie's overarching themes are "love yourself" and "your differences make you special," but we get to these ideas relatively late in the movie, after we've watched the main characters get shamed at length for being themselves. Adding weight to the iffy messages are two prominently featured (and quite catchy) songs, "The Ugly Truth" and "All Dolled Up." The first one, sung by the movie's villain, is a little easier to dismiss, though its message -- "ugly = worthless" -- is pretty harsh, and there's a moment when Lou moves down a line of dolls explaining why each is unacceptably imperfect ("You're way too short! You're too thin! Is that a blemish on your double chin?") that's cringeworthy.

"All Dolled Up," sung by the sympathetic Mandy (Janelle Monáe), is more problematic. To adults, it's obvious that Mandy's heart isn't in statements like "When you're all dolled up, people only see what you want them to see." But to kids, the message the song sends is more uncomfortable -- as if the "solution" to being different is to pretend not to be. It's not until the movie gets to the song "Unbreakable" that parents will sit up and really enjoy the vibe being pumped out: Be yourself, and show them you can't be broken. Once UglyDolls turns that corner, it's all sweetness and smiles: Perfection and Uglyville merge, everyone learns to love and accept themselves, and Moxy finds her place in a child's arms. Spoiler alert? Nah, you knew it was coming. It's just a shame that this happy ending doesn't feel more earned.

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