BARBIE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

BARBIE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

I had the privilege of going to a screening of this film with local influencers and fans of the Barbie doll in the local DFW area. I did not anticipate the sea of pink outfits I would sit amongst during the screening. It was so much fun to see all sizes and age ranges dressed in their favorite Barbie-esque attire. And don’t even get me started on all the Kens that showed up. They were styling as well.

At the event, I saw the merchandising the theaters would have for this film. Be prepared to shell out an average of $20 per keepsake item to hold your popcorn and soda during the movie. The film is based on a Mattel toy, so you have to expect this level of merchandising. And I’ll warn you, you will want to collect each of those pink lovelies they have available. So bring your wallet.

The film Barbie on its surface has a simple storyline, but it is actually layered with female empowerment messages. Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) lives in her flamingo-pink Dreamhouse, surrounded by other Barbies in theirs. All of this takes place in Barbie Land. All the Kens live there as well somewhere.

Part of the fun of watching the film is seeing who appears as a Barbie or a Ken. It’s packed with a well-known cast of actors and actresses playing all the Barbies and human characters. There are people like Will Ferrell, Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Issa Rae, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Rhea Perlman, John Cena, and the best narrator ever, Dame Helen Mirren, in the cast.

One principal, “Ken” (Ryan Gosling), lives only to love Stereotypical Barbie. He tries to impress her and stand out from all the other Kens. Life is perfect and going along as it always has until Stereotypical Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her perfect pink world and her existence. When the signs of her distress start adding up, she must visit Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon). She is the doll that was played with too much and wrecked by her person. Leaving her marked up and sitting in a split position. She is considered wise and known to help fix broken Barbies. Weird Barbie sends Stereotypical Barbie to the real world to repair the tear between her and the human playing with her.

Once there, Stereotypical Barbie and Ken, who has tagged along, find the family she feels has played with her and caused all these troubles for her in Barbie Land. Surly Teenager Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt) and her mom Gloria (America Ferrera), who works at Mattel as a receptionist for the CEO (Will Ferrell).

This is not the first time a Barbie has crossed over to the real world. The longer she is there, the more damage is done to both worlds. So the CEO and all his board of men in black suits frantically chase Stereotypical Barbie around LA to get her back in her box. Her only help comes from Gloria and Sasha.

The rest of the film is a fun and wacky look at what happens to Barbie Land when an enlightened Ken, who has learned about patriarchy in the real world, returns and teaches all the other Kens how to be dudes in charge—turning Barbie Land upside down. Stereotypical Barbie has brought Gloria and Sasha back to a shattered Barbie Land, and together they must set everything right. 

The film Barbie was directed and co-written by Oscar Nominee Greta Gerwin. Her wry and intelligent voice on the subject matter was the perfect match. Her projects are known for strong female characters, so the fact that Margot Robbie and Warner Bros, who owned the rights to make the film tapped her on the shoulder to tackle this project was brilliant. The iconic Barbie doll, which has its haters and a legion of fans worldwide, needed Gerwin’s voice as a storyteller and filmmaker. She and her co-writer Noah Baumbach who have worked together before, have managed to take an inanimate object like the Barbie doll and make it a compelling character. While still showing some of the magic children feel playing with her. I especially enjoyed their nod to the literary classic The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams at the end of the film’s storyline. Once you see the movie, you will know what I am talking about. 

Barbie, the film is a visual feast for the eyes. The soundtrack will be on repeat this summer, and everyone will want to own something they saw on the screen. The only fault I find in the movie is some of the storyline and odd dance sequences that the Kens have in the film. I wouldn’t have missed some of that being cut out of the film completely. It fell flat compared to the energy of the Barbies. Also, if you think this will be a cool movie to take your children, who are still young enough to play with the dolls right now, think again. It’s PG-13 for a reason. This film was not made for the kiddie demographic, and they would soon be bored and left behind as the story progresses.  

I give Barbie 4 stars. It’s for all the people that grew up playing with the dolls. You know who you are. So you and your best friends must wear your best pink outfits or accessories, go to a theater near you, and enjoy this fun summer hit.

 

Directed by: Greta Gerwig

Written by: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4 Stars

Running Time: 1hr 54 min

Comedy/ Fantasy

Wide Release: Only in Theaters July 21st

Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, Ariana Greenblatt

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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