FILM REVIEW: Barbie
A very humorous examination of the Barbie brand that should entertain Barbie-lovers and Barbie-haters alike
'Barbenheimer' comes to a close with Barbie, a film based on the popular children’s doll that is very much about Barbie, but may not the Barbie film you were expecting. When Barbie begins to notice imperfections in her life, she leaves Barbieland and goes on a journey of self-discovery to the real world, where she discovers the good and the bad that she has done for the world.
The first act of the film gives you everything the trailers promised and probably everything you’d expect going into a Barbie film: pink decor, playhouse sets, and all different variations of Barbie living their best lives. Margot Robbie was born to play 'stereotypical Barbie', as she is referred to in the film, and in that she is also the least interesting character in the film. The supporting cast have more to play with, including Kate McKinnon who is just plain awesome as Weird Barbie, Ryan Gosling who makes the most of his role as the lovesick, bitter Ken, and Michael Cera who does his usual schtick as Ken’s pal Allan.
Once they travel to the real world, however, the film gets a lot more fun and a lot more deep. Constantly being hounded by the CEO of Mattel, played by Will Ferrell who gets away with lots of jokes at the expense of the toy company, the Barbie character begins to question her role in the world, how she originally gave women the right to be whatever they wanted, but also how she might have failed at what she stood for.
There is an undeniable feminist message to this movie that is sometimes interesting but sometimes eye-roll-inducing with it’s 'down-with-the-patriarchy' attitude. The film lands somewhere in the middle of this argument, but ultimately the battle-of-the-sexes jokes aimed at men and women garnered more than their fair share of worthy laughs, with only a couple that didn’t land or went on too long.
This may not be the traditional Barbie movie that young girls are expecting, but it is a very humorous examination of the Barbie brand that should entertain Barbie-lovers and Barbie-haters alike; that is if you can stomach the abundance of pink and the social messages at play.