I wasn’t going to see Barbie in the cinema. I usually go to the cinema on my own and, if I did this with Barbie, I imagined I would have been beaten up in the car park by blue-haired women wearing dungarees and Dr Martin’s boots. In the privacy of my own home, I could tell the wife to shut up and watch it in comfort.
You know most of the details about Barbie, the cast, the director and so forth, so let’s dive straight into the story. We have had a review from one brave Outposter, but here’s my take.
Barbie lives in a perfect world, the kind Lord Faquaard wanted, but it’s all run by women. Everything is perfect, from the imaginary shower she has every day, to her perfect breakfast, to driving down to the beach to see Ken. Everyone in Barbieland is perfect, well, apart from one fat Barbie and one that’s in a wheelchair, the rest are perfect. Every one of the Ken’s are perfecter, they all look like me… if cake didn’t exist.
Everything is going great for Barbie until she starts to think about death. We learn that the girl playing with her in real life has been having the same thoughts. This confused me. How come this is the first time a Barbie has started thinking about death? Or periods? Or anything else?
It turns out, that what happens to a Barbie in the real world happens to the one in Barbieland. Weird Barbie, played by Kate McKinnon, has stuff drawn all over her face, a bad haircut and clothes that don’t match. Again, this confused me.
I thought of Sid, the kid who lived next door to Andy in Toy Story. What if he got hold of a Barbie, dismembered her and then set her on fire? Does that mean a random Barbie in Barbieland would have done the same thing? That’s a very different movie, but I would totally watch that.
Anyways, Weird Barbie tells Barbie that she has to make a choice, go back to Barbieland and just carry on, or head to the real world and face the girl playing with her and fix things. Turns out this isn’t a choice, she has to go to the real world. Choice is an illusion.
The Kens of Barbieland are only there to look good for the Barbies. Ken’s only mission each day is to hang around the beach and get a gaze from Barbie. I got the impression that he does love Barbie, but ‘she don’t need no man’, so that’s about it. It’s not like she cockblocking him, he doesn’t have one.
Barbie heads off to the real world and Ken tags along without her knowing. When they get to the real world, she is objectified by every male there, even the police officers who are processing her arrest. There is a joke about her not having a vagina and Ken not having a penis. This would have been funny if it wasn’t so true these days.
Mattel finds out that Barbie and Ken are in the real world and must get them back to Barbieland. Why? Don’t know. There’s a whole bit about how Mattel is run by men and there are no women in the office. Obviously.
Barbie meets up with America Ferrera, who works at Mattel, and her daughter. It turns out Ferrera is the one who’s been playing with Barbie and making her think about real life. In the meantime, Ken is learning that the real world is a total patriarchy and he’s treated with respect and dignity. Uh oh.
Barbie ends up at Mattel and is asked to be put in a giant box to be sent back home. Why? Don’t know. Ken however heads back to Barbieland and, in the space of a few hours, manages to turn Barbieland into Kentopia (or something like that, I forget now and I’m not watching through it again to find out). Yes, all the brilliant, clever Barbies were overthrown and brainwashed in the space of a few hours by a Ken. Not sure what the message was here.
Ferrera, her daughter and Barbie escape from Mattel and head back to Barbieland, which is where Mattel wanted her to go. #shrug There, the place is a mess as all the Ken’s are in charge, but Ferrera gives a speech that snaps the Barbies out of their brainwashing.
This was kind of a shame, the speech that Ferrera gives, about the pressure on women in society, is very clever and poignant. The problem is, you have to wade through 1.5 hours of ‘I’m going to beach you off’ jokes to get here.
In the end, Barbie is saved by the (ghost) of Ruth Handler, the creator of the original Barbie. Barbie is told she doesn’t need to love Ken and can be real if she wants. The last shot of the movie is Barbara Handler, as she calls herself now, going for her first gynaecologist appointment (watch The Wolf of Wall Street for more information on this).
There is then a ‘song’ by Nicki Minaj. It’s the first time I have heard music from her and I never want to hear any of it ever again. Not to sound like an ageing miserable old sod, but it was just noise.
Michael Cera is also in the movie.
The message in this movie is all over the place. Sometimes, Barbie is just an air-headed moron who doesn’t know her arse from her elbow. I had a girlfriend like that once but, to be fair, she was anorexic. And other times, she comes out with long and complex expositions about the world she’s living in.
Ken is the same, at one point he is just eye candy, the next he has managed to brainwash many brilliant women. How? Don’t know. OK, so I’m overthinking a movie that is very, very shallow, but even the most basic of scripts tie up small loose ends.
Barbie comes back to the modern problem that it seems men and women just cannot work together. It has to be one or the other. One has to be better than the other and, at the moment, that is very much “women have to be better than men”.
I’m all for feminism, women of power have always been a thing in my life, and I’m all for it. What I don’t like is how modern feminism is more about man hating. It’s not about equality, it’s about pushing men down, so women can be better.
Barbie is going to be a very different movie for different people. Now that I have seen it, I can understand how it’s taken over $100 billion squillion in the box office. I’m not a woman, I have a full 2 inches to prove that, but I imagine a certain kind of woman, feminist sympathisers and people with an IQ lower than their waistline will love this movie. It’s finally saying what they have all been thinking. Girl power!
On the other hand, any person born with a male appendage will probably see this movie as it hates the patriarchy and panders to the cry babies on TikTok.
To me, overall the movie isn’t really anything. The mixed message was so all over the place, I don’t know whose side I’m on? Ken I guess. I mean we have to pick a side, there’s no working in unison here. No one falls in love with someone else these days, ask Rachel Ziegler.
I will say, that the cast is excellent, Robbie is good and gives a great performance in places. Gosling could read the phone book and still make it awesome. Ferrera is very good. Her daughter is a whiny drip who’s been badly written, but that’s not her fault.
Michael Cera is also in the movie.
Sorry, but Gerwig’s direction is perfectly average. There’s nothing new or exciting about her, she just films the scenes and tells the actors what to do. Ed Wood could have directed this movie. It’s not like Gerwig has a style or feel about her films. You know when you are watching a Kathryn Bigalow movie.
I would say it’s a “paint by numbers” movie, that’s being generous. It’s more like someone put a black and white picture on the wall and then threw paint at it. Some of the colour was right, the rest wasn’t. I did find a couple of the jokes funny, but honestly, it’s about three, maybe four. The movie is 2 hours long.
I did like the fact that the movie started with the same opening scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. Instead of apes smashing bones, it’s young girls, seeing Barbie for the first time, smashing their childish baby dolls. That is as deep as the movie gets. I can’t imagine many of the people watching Barbie would know what 2001 is, well, apart from making you really old if you were born before then.
Is Barbie worth a watch? I guess, just for the sake of it or some morbid fascination. I do think it will promote discussion amongst people afterwards. Depending on what side of the fence you are on, you will have a different viewpoint.
I’m giving Barbie the same score as the last review, 1.5 out of 5. I feel that’s a little generous, but I don’t want to think about it too much. If I identified as a woman, or lost my nuts in a chainsaw accident, I might look at it as the best movie ever made.
Barbie is now on streaming and only brave people like me will watch it. #reversepsychology
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