“Barbie” Review

Story posted July 29, 2023 in

Over the past few years, the decline of theater cinema has caused the idea of a summer blockbuster movie to become a relic of the past. As weird as it may sound, Barbie has successfully packed theaters nationwide while providing a purposeful story filled with comical moments.

The immediate success of Barbie is due in part to a massive advertising campaign and a star-studded cast.

Leading up to its release, Barbie was hyped in an unorthodox fashion. Burger King created a pink burger, Progressive Insurance released new commercials, overseas three-dimensional advertisements walked out of buildings and Airbnb created a life-size Barbie Dreamhouse.

Margot Robbie leads the film as “stereotypical” Barbie. She is joined by a lineup including Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, John Cena, Dua Lipa and a slew of other stars.

The film opens up in Barbieland, where we are walked through a usual day in Barbie’s life. This features jokes about how the dolls pretend to live as well as their packaged roles.

After a few gags with the Ken dolls and a massive choreographed dance scene, the day resets but Barbie starts breaking out of the loop. Her perfection wears off and she starts to have conflicting feelings.

While most of the cast portrays over-the-top caricatures of Barbie dolls, Robbie does a phenomenal job of transitioning her character to portraying human emotions.

In the film, this happens as a result of Barbie’s owner fixating her negative emotions into her doll. In order to fix this, Barbie must enter the real world.

Barbie and Ken proceed to Los Angeles, where they are met with a controversial take on reality.

Barbie is immediately met with a series of catcalls and suggestive comments while Ken discovers the patriarchy.

This is where the movie becomes divisive. Throughout the remainder of the film, Barbie discovers that the United States is a difficult place for women. She meets a daughter who makes her cry with her take on how Barbie dolls have made the world worse by exemplifying unrealistic beauty standards.

All of these moments lead Barbie to lose her spirits in the real world.

Meanwhile, Ken has left Barbie to explore and discovers that this world is great for men. He decides to leave Barbie behind and take his knowledge back to Barbieland. This leads to the climax of the film when Barbie and her new human friends return to the newly named “Kendomland.”

A majority of the criticism of this movie comes from the portrayal of a sexist world and while it is exaggerated, it seems that many political commentators don’t understand that the movie about a doll coming to life isn’t a documentary.

Watching the film without these biases shows off a surprisingly dense story that has some real meaning. Barbie’s ending is both satisfying and emotional.

The film excels the most in its humor, including edgy jokes that were unexpected in the film and even a few fourth wall breaks that allow the movie to not take itself too seriously.

Overall, Barbie is an entertaining adventure that seeks to start conversations between young children and their parents. A film like this having a well-portrayed message makes it recommendable to watch among a majority of audiences.

Rating: 4/5

Evan Smith is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu.