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“Barbie” Just Wants To Have A Good Time

Barbie Movie
James Francisco

There’s absolutely no logical reason why or how the world has been obsessed with Barbie recently. So what if Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling were perfectly cast? So what if the cast also includes Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, and Helen Mirren? So what if director Greta Gerwig—female-gaze extraordinaire—is at the helm of a film that centers on the one doll that has been lambasted for its unrealistic portrayal of women for decades? So what if it’s the one fun film in a sea of seriousness, action, and franchises?

Wait a minute—maybe there is a logical reason for all the fanfare and attention.

In the Barbie movie, Stereotypical Barbie (Robbie) lives her perfect life in perfect Barbie Land. She’s always put together, always pretty, her shower is always at the right temperature and her toast is never burnt. And then there’s Ken (Gosling), whose life solely depends on her. He doesn’t know how to surf, has no responsibilities and only has one personality trait: he loves Barbie (but after a cringe-inducing conversation, we realize that Barbie is not quite so in love with him).

After Margot Robbie’s feet lay flat on the ground, things start going awry. And the only way to fix things is for Barbie to head to the Real World, find who’s playing with her and fix things. Ah, the things that she sees: a man-exclusive boardroom table, men hitting on her, men working, men calling the shots, and a tween girl who hates her.

A lot of money, marketing and media has been given to Barbie, and I can now firmly say that it’s worth all the attention. The lessons are inherent—and America Ferrera’s Gloria delivers a classic Greta Gerwig speech on how difficult it is to be a woman, all true—but the film is such a joy to watch. It’s incredibly self-aware, from the Mattel executives who don’t actually know what they’re doing to the narrator calling out the absurdities happening on screen. The characters themselves question how their outfits change, how they get from one location to the next. It’s hilarious and fun and perfect for a quick reprieve from, ironically, the Real World.

There are dance sequences reminiscent of Ryan Gosling’s viral performance as a kid, and fight sequences with beach inflatables. There are real moments shared between the Barbies, the Kens and the Humans; moments that make you remember there’s still something to be learned here. 
So all in all? A pleasurable viewing experience. Do yourself and your stressed out brain a favor, and watch Barbie. It’s showing everywhere now.

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