With its viral marketing, Barbie is taking over the conversation both in mainstream media and social media. The film is released on the same day as Nolan’s latest film titled Oppenheimer. Yes, Barbie’s marketing strategy is successful by joining the bandwagon of Nolan’s fame. Also putting Barbie on the same level as Nolan’s film as its gimmick.
The gimmick is crystal clear through a pathetic question that you hear a lot in the entertainment media interview. “Which one will you watch first? Barbie or Oppenheimer?” Oh, dear God. Is that a serious question?
Directed by the rising star director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women), Barbie tells the story of a bunch of dolls in a fantasy world named Barbie Land where all the women (dolls actually) are successful and powerful as they can be whoever and whatever they want. In Barbie Land, every day is the best day, and every night is a girl’s night.
While the men, mostly Ken and one Allan, are pretty boys who can do nothing. Ken (Ryan Gosling) likes to stay on the beach but with no ability to swim, surf the wave, play beach volleyball, or even guard the area. Even at the end of the film, Ken is still a retard. He passionately repeats “I am just me!” while still having no skill to survive. No character development is founded.
Trailer courtesy of Warner Bros.
In short, Barbie Land is a fantasy place or satire camp for deluded human beings. A place for millennial and gen-z women to enjoy life with their gay friends. A place where everything you do is correct and empowering with no consequences.
One day, the stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) suddenly become a mainstream stoic teen with an existential crisis. She suddenly has thoughts about death that make her life changes. She also discovers that her perfect feet are now flat. To solve her problem, she seeks insight from Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon). The solution that she gets is she has to go to the human world and solve the problem of her Barbie owner.
Barbie then sets off for the real world alongside Ken. Barbie and Ken are now embarking on a journey from a fantasy Barbie Land to the human world. In the real world, Barbie and Ken are discovering a world that they haven’t seen before. The world where many jobs are actually done by men, human gaze toward their outfits, or even weirdly set-up sexual harassment. When she was cat-called, Barbie stated, “We don’t have genitals. I don’t have a vagina and he doesn’t have a penis.” Which is a sudden weird dialogue there.
In the real world, Barbie meets Gloria (America Ferrera) who is the owner of the Barbie doll and Gloria’s daughter named Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt). At the same time, Ken discovers a whole new world of patriarchy which he is obsessed with. He soon changes the Barbieland due to his patriarchal belief, which is quite strange since he doesn’t have the testosterone to be dared to do so.
There are a lot of holes both in character development as well as in the plot. Barbie who always drinks fake water and never actually eats also believing in stupid things suddenly feel human emotion.
The human emotion is the result of the sadness of her human owner. In the end, Barbie even tries to live in the human world which is pretty weird as the film fails to put it stands. Who is Barbie? A deluded doll or a human? And so is Ken. Everything becomes random and hard to understand.
Also when Ken flipped the Barbie Land upside down into Ken Land. Like the hell suddenly all (almost) Barbies are hypnotized. They are also free from hypnotism through an empowering preach by Gloria, a human who by chance is in the Barbie Land. The plot is destructed by its deluded political message. It tries to empower yet in reality it is just a fantastical deluded idea. Barbie can be anything you want and anything you have (yeah if your doll owner buys you the clothes and the barbie house).
In the end, Barbie fails to entertain. The comedy is too cheesy and cringe while the plot is so random. It is hard to digest as the film also fails to send its political message in a subtle way as how a film should be. Instead, Barbie is preaching about you can be anything you want even without any effort. Barbie film is nothing more than a marketing tool for Mattel, the producer of Barbie dolls. In other words from a film perspective, Barbie is a garbage film.
Our Score (4/10)
Production: Heyday Films, LuckyChap Entertainment, NB/GG Pictures, Mattel Films
Director: Gretta Gergwig
Screenwriter: Greta Gergwig, Noah Baumbach
Casts: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu