After Barbie’s dream life begins to change she realises she must go to the real world in order to get thing back on track.
It is the film that has the whole world talking right now – Barbie. In the lead up nobody really knew what to expect, except a lot of pink, was it going to be something serious aimed for adults or was it going to be funny and aimed at children? It seems though it wasn’t only the cinema going audience asking those questions, they were questions that the filmmakers themselves may have been confused about because the result is a film that seems to awkwardly sit in the middle.
Directed by Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) Barbie is a film that actually features a lot of different Barbies and Kens. In the beginning they all live in BarbieLand where the main Barbie (Margot Robbie – The Wolf Of Wall Street) wakes up every day to a perfect day of fun in the sun with her friends. And when the sun sets it is time for her to party.
That Barbie also has her Ken (Ryan Gosling – La La Land) who is always doting after her and competing with other Kens for her affection. But sadly, for Ken it is also obvious that his feelings for Barbie are a lot stronger than hers for him.
But then one day everything changes. Barbie’s life starts to get less perfect – something is beginning to go wrong. The only person with any answers is the one referred to as Strange Barbie (Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters) who quickly tells Barbie that the issues that the person playing with her in the real world is starting to project onto her. The only way she can solve it is by travelling to the real world and trying to help her ‘human.’
So, with Ken in tow Barbie makes her way to the real world where she soon meets Gloria (America Ferrera – Superstore) and her daughter, Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt – 65). But before Barbie can help them the news of her arrival reaches the Mattel CEO (Will Ferrell – Anchorman) who decides that Barbie needs to be put back in her box before there is an incident.
Meanwhile Ken begins to realise that men can also be leaders and decides to head back to BarbieLand and change things around so it can become his Kengdom which leaves Barbie having to fix problems both there and in the real world.
Barbie is kind of a difficult film to review. Not only in this the kind of film that is guaranteed to divide an audience the film almost being split in two halves causes issues of its own. The way Gerwig introduces the audience to BarbieLand is amazing. The characters are set up amazingly well, the dance sequences are stunning and the laughs come thick and fast.
The then something terrible happens with the film. Even when Barbie and Ken first arrive in the real world the film works but once we see inside the Mattel offices a cheesiness washes over the film that completely ruins it. Gone are the smart bits of comedy that made the opening so special and instead the audience must endure lame comedy that doesn’t hit the mark while every male character, especially Ferrell’s CEO character, becomes a brain-dead moron.
Some may say that the political message behind the film gets in the way of the story at hand but that simply isn’t the case. While the film may have made more sense if it promoted the fact that men and women are equal rather than one being better than the other the real issue here is the writing and the change of tone for the second half of the film.
The comedy and some of the scenarios in the that second half become completely ridiculous and that is where the problems are going to lay for the audience. The political tone and point will go right over the heads of children watching the film while the cheesy humour is going to make it a difficult watch for the adults.
What saves this film are the performances. Margot Robbie is brilliant as Barbie while Ryan Gosling is the perfect Ken. Also worth a mention are Michael Cera (Juno) who often steals the show in the scenes that he is in while Rhea Pearlman (Cheers) also has an amazing cameo. Th real shame though is that the talents of America Ferrera are wasted in this film while Will Ferrell isn’t reigned in as much as he should have been.
Sadly, Barbie isn’t the brilliant film that many hoped it would be. The cheesy comedy often gets in the way of what could have been a very important storyline and to be honest many will expect more from a Gerwig film.