3 stars (out of 4)
The Barbie advertising marketing campaign deserves raves. Margot Robbie established herself as a residing doll on numerous pink carpets — love that Day-to-Night Barbie throwback outfit! — whereas Ryan Gosling exuded the right quantity of Ken-ergy. Bravo to all.
Now, playtime’s over. And the reply to the massive query is sure, life in plastic … it’s incredible. Or, with out the advantage of paraphrasing a 1997 novelty song: The Barbie film is a pleasant, extremely stylized and super-endearing crowd pleaser. See it as soon as to marvel at the ace performances and impeccable fashion and manufacturing design; catch it once more simply to show to your self that the entire thing wasn’t a neon-hued fever dream.
On the candy-coated floor, the highly anticipated comedy chronicles the adventures of the famed trend doll (Robbie), identified right here as “Stereotypical Barbie.” In Barbieland — the place pink isn’t a lot a colour as it’s a way of life alternative — she wakes up with a smile and sunny angle to match. She and her Barbie counterparts, performed by the likes of Issa Rae, Hari Nef and Emma Mackey, reign supreme. They’re Nobel Prize winners, political leaders, Supreme Courtroom justices and extra.
After the solar goes down, they celebration with choreographed dance strikes. All that beachy Ken (Gosling) and his cronies (Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa) can do is passively clamor for his or her consideration.
Then one morning, Stereotypical Barbie feels off. Her milk is bitter; her completely arched ft go flat. She even fancies ideas of demise. The horror! As sensible Bizarre Barbie (Kate McKinnon) explains it, there’s been a rip within the Barbie continuum. She should journey to “the true world” (i.e., Century Metropolis, California) and assist the unhappy little lady taking part in together with her. Solely then will happiness return in each spectrums. Ken jumps within the convertible, and away they go on the massive journey. It seems to be a bumpy trip.
That narrative might sound as acquainted as a gift-wrapped Barbie Dreamhouse in December. However Barbie occurs to be co-scripted and directed by Greta Gerwig (Girl Fowl, Little Girls), a feminist auteur who usually brings post-modern sensibilities to her work. This time, she’s loaded her movie with progressive and subversive twists.
It’s not sufficient to wring laughs simply by watching shiny, joyful Barbie and Ken stick out amid cynical Angelinos. They every come to an epiphany early on: Outdoors their bubble, Alpha Males are in cost and ladies are topic to limitless scrutiny. In a reducing scene, a teen lady (Ariana Greenblatt) lays into Barbie about her position within the quest for unattainable magnificence requirements. Not even a frantic return journey to Barbieland can restore order.
It’s no enjoyable to spoil one of the best Barbie surprises. There’s true pleasure in discovering all of the imaginative particulars, from the pretend plastic waves on the seashore to the pop music selections. As for Robbie and Gosling? They’re so uncannily solid that they might as effectively be a particular impact unto themselves. Believe the hype about Gosling: The ever-game actor has by no means been this unfastened onscreen. (Truthfully, did he even sing and dance with this a lot abandon on The New Mickey Mouse Club again within the day?) Not solely is he hilarious, he brings a humanity in displaying why Ken ought to be thought of greater than Barbie’s boy toy.
Gerwig has so much to say concerning the significance of recognizing Barbie’s imperfections, so maybe it’s becoming that her movie will not be with out its flaws. When the facility construction in Barbieland develop into askew, the Barbies rally one another not by actions however by speeches. Many speeches. Too many speeches. We all know, we all know — ladies have it robust! They have to be impartial! All of the discuss patriarchy and autonomy turns into numbing after awhile and can certainly sail over the heads of the younger women (and boys) taking part in with a Barbie doll at this very second.
To take it one high-heeled-step additional: Barbie is marketed squarely at anybody who owned a Rollerblade Barbie again within the day. Which means you, Gen Xers and older Millennials. No person else would recognize all that Day-Glo, a lot much less the Matchbox Twenty reference.
This has been a disappointing summer time film season on too many ranges. What a aid that Barbie is an excellent, whimsical effort delivered in such a brightly coloured bundle. Simply don’t field her in.
Join Us Weekly’s free, daily newsletter and by no means miss breaking information or unique tales about your favourite celebrities, TV reveals and extra!
Barbie opens in theaters on Friday, July 21.