Willowdean (Danielle MacDonald) is the Dolly Parton-obsessed, plus-sized daughter of a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston), who lovingly calls her “Dumplin”. When Willowdean decides to compete in her mother’s pageant as a form of protest, other girls (who are considered misfits compared to the cookie cutter pageant girls) join her, revolutionizing their small Texas town.
Despite some encouraging nuggets of progressiveness, Dumplin’ is a rather basic yet entertaining ode to self-acceptance and positive body image. Are there plot holes? Yes. Does it feel a little forced at times? Yes. But did it leave you with a smile on your face? Absolutely. Dumplin’ is cheesy and charming with cute characters and a protagonist worth rooting for. It will warm your heart and give you warm fuzzies when Willowdean finally comes into her own. She really takes to heart when Dolly Parton said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”
Speaking of the country music goddess, I’ll be honest, I could have used LESS Dolly Parton in the film. She never actually makes a physical appearance, however, Dolly is threaded throughout every scene, making the film feel more like a Dolly Parton tribute at times. I understand Parton serves as Dumplin’s guardian angel in a way, but it was SO MUCH that I still have “Jolene” stuck in my head.
Final Thoughts: There isn’t much depth to Dumplin’, however it is a cheesy, feel-good comedy that’s a perfect Netflix watch.