Reviewed by Alicia Glass
After a cancelled Halloween costume scandal, Jewish entrepreneur Ethan Cox decides to try a Trading Places-like attempt at saving his career with Dotty, the charming black lady who sells snacks at his mothers’ hospital!
Who does that anymore? Blackface, really? Especially as a Jewish man, but then, Ethan (director Adam Saunders) seems to have built a reputation out of questionable life choices that somehow work out. The self-driving car business that was poised to take off like a rocket is now nose-diving like a stone, and even his outrageous fashion sense can’t save him. So Ethan conceives of a ridiculous plan, to shoehorn the delightfully black and wise Dotty (Leslie Uggams) into the face of his company, whilst he still runs things from the wings. Because these sort of shenanigans always work out well for their instigators!
Fellow businessman Brannigan (David Koechner) and his yes-man minion Diggy (Gary Owen) just want to sell the burgeoning self-driving car company to interested investor Farhad Ghorbani (Bobby Naderi) and make the big bucks, and are at least initially reluctant to make Dotty the face of their company. She’s a woman, she’s black and not shy about it, oh and yeah, her brains and life experiences won’t allow her to simply sit there in nice suits and smile pretty but mute, Dotty is almost a complete unknown and therefore to be feared. But Brannigan knows the face value of initial impressions and only looking at the surface of things and so reluctantly accepts Dotty as the new face of the self-driving cars biz. Especially when, after a fun montage of makeover mania with Dotty and Bella (Margot Bingham), Dotty begins to run with ideas and actually contribute to the company, coming up with the idea for self-driving buses too, which Brannigan will happily exploit for maximum profit. Much to the detriment of the BIPOC and disabled communities, through a series of likely highly illegal maneuvers, Brannigan is working on making it so the self-driving bus biz is the only game in town, getting him branded the eventual bad-guy of the story, and someone for Ethan and Dotty to actually strive against!
A charming tale of the trials, tribulations, and ultimately triumphs in the journey to authenticity, featuring an adorably genuine cast led by the redoubtable Uggams – who played the hilarious Blind Al opposite Ryan Reynolds in both Deadpool movies – Dotty and Soul will make you cheer for the overlooked, the disabled and the helpless, and the people who step up to champion them with their whole hearts!