Adapted from Julie Murphy’s book, the decision to weave Parton’s music throughout the film (including a new Golden Globe-nominated song, “Girl in the Movies”) goes to Aniston, who doubled as a producer. It’s certainly a shrewd promotional maneuver, especially since Parton-branded movies — beginning with “Coat of Many Colors” — have already proved to be a success on NBC.
“Dumplin'” possesses a sharper tone than those films but still features a lot of the same warm fuzzies — at least, once you get past all the tears and self-doubt, which includes Willowdean’s disbelief that an attractive young co-worker (Luke Benward) could actually be attracted to her.
It’s all presented with admirable conviction, although when the movie arrived as part of a “For Your Consideration” Oscar mailing, it was frankly hard not to wonder if Netflix is suffering from delusions of grandeur (or more likely, operating under contractual obligations).
Aniston’s role nicely suits her, although the pageant portion of the proceedings drags on too long. By then, though, “Dumplin'” has pretty much made its point about acceptance and tolerance, in the kind of polished feel-good movie that comes wrapped up in a very familiar coat, indeed.
“Dumplin'” premieres Dec. 7 in select theaters and on Netflix.