Barbie Crafts a Delightful, Hilarious World for Adults to Enjoy

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer

Plot: Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence.

Review: I expected them to get the look right; it is Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the lead roles as Barbie and Ken respectively after all. I expected the movie to deliver on laughs. And I even expected Barbieland to be visually interesting. But never in a million years of movie watching did I expect Barbie to be as delightful as it is!

And I hereby declare and decree that henceforth Mondays will known as MOJITO MONDAYS!!!

The main plotline is your standard fare for these types of movies with Barbie (Robbie) loving her perfect life in her perfect dream house in Barbieland. She’s Stereotypical Barbie and as such her life is exactly what a Barbie doll’s life is supposed to be as she drives around in her signature pink Corvette, has dance parties with other dolls like President Barbie (Issa Rae), Writer Barbie (Alexandra Shipp) and Physicist Barbie (Emma Mackey) just to name a few.

All is well until Barbie (this is going to get confusing real fast, so I’ll just call Robbie’s Barbie SB), until SB starts having strange emotions such as depression and anxiety which leads her to asking existential questions no Barbie should be asking like, “Do you ever think about death?” After a meeting with Weird Barbie, played to hilarious perfection by SNL’s Kate McKinnon, she realises her new emotions are coming from the real world or specifically, the girl who owns her. She decides to journey there with her wannabe boyfriend Stereotypical Ken (Gosling) to find answers.

She is a Barbie world, and she does live in a Barbie world. If you think about it, her life in plastic is fantastic

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach took on the behemoth task of creating a Barbie movie that would appeal to adult audiences, while still retaining the imagination and wonder of childhood and they nailed it. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this movie, yet I got exactly what I hoped for and as someone who never considered themselves a fan of Barbie, and that’s saying something!

From the genius idea to use practical effects and set pieces to create Barbieland (and later Ken-dom) to hilarious scenes of Kens battling in their own version of D-Day this movie rarely failed to put a smile on my face. Margot Robbie shines here as she effortlessly balances real emotions with the weirdness of a doll come to life (Barbie and Birds of Prey would make a great double feature of its own). Ryan Gosling’s Ken steals every scene he’s in with his himbo version of the character hilariously trying to figure out what it means to be a man. Every scene with him was a delight but it was his rendition of the song “I am Ken” that left me in stitches. And while the movie didn’t give a lot of screen time to the other Kens and Barbies, every one of them played their parts to perfection. I would go as far as to say the Kens were the standouts in the bunch as they had more comedy to work with, especially in the latter half of the movie.

Do I want to go to the beach? ABSolutely. Get it? Abs? You get it

But for all the visuals and musical flair, it’s the story itself (a blend between Enchanted and The Matrix) that really steals the show. Naysayers will probably call the movie preachy or feminist to which I say, it might be but it’s also so much more. Gerwig and Baumbach never use Barbie as a way to attack the male species but instead chose to highlight how ridiculous it is for society in general to expect perfection from anyone, male or female.

Barbie isn’t the only one going through an existential crisis as Ken also struggles to figure out who he’s supposed to be. He may have unwittingly (and hilariously) chosen all of the more toxic traits of masculinity to bring back to his world, but he does it with the best of intentions, that is, to show the Kens they can be more than just another accessory to Barbie.

Hold on. I have a diploma in Mansplaining

As great as the movie is (and it is great) there are moments that don’t work as well and most of these take place in the real world. I could’ve spent this entire story in Barbieland and I would’ve been satisfied but of course the journey needed to take our heroes to the real world and it’s here the pacing slows down, and the humour doesn’t quite stick the landing. I love Will Ferrell, he never fails at making me laugh, but as the CEO of “Mattel” he doesn’t really get to do much beyond the obvious. A reviewer friend of mine thought he might’ve once been a Ken that escaped into the real world and I thought that would’ve been a fantastic twist, but all we really get from him was a less maniacal version of his Lord Business character in The Lego Movie. I’m not saying it was all bad, but the energy levels here don’t quite match the rest of the movie and I found myself eager to return to the brightly coloured world of Barbieland.

At no point in time does the movie feel disingenuous and even with its flaws I commend how much heart was put into this production. Witty dialogue, big musical numbers, gorgeous set pieces and more pink than you’ll probably ever see in your life, Barbie is a movie filled with charm, heart and a ton of small details that makes seeing it again a must. A cinematic experience if there ever was one, I may not be a fan of Barbie dolls, but I’m most definitely a fan of this Barbie.

Sommer’s Score: 8.5 out of 10

Have you checked out Barbie? What did you think of it? And you can check out more movie content below:


Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge-Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby! Read More

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