*Mild Spoiler Alert for very brief mentioning of a scene not included in Trailers

Barbie was officially released on July 21, but only after Barbie Summer blew in along with record heat waves. Nothing a little pink couldn’t fix! Warner Bros and Mattel launched a grandiose marketing campaign with a draw-dropping price tag of $150 million. Opening weekend was a crushing success that continued into the week, with an additional $26 million in ticket sales by Tuesday. Barbie has dominated box offices with a roaring $470 million ticket sales worldwide. Greta Gerwig is the first female director in cinema history to garner such massive success at a movie opening. Rotten Tomatoes has already given it a rating of 89%, Yet I still found myself heading for the door about 30 minutes before the movie ended. I couldn’t take the torture any longer.

Review by Nisie

            Don’t get me wrong, I was dazzled by the elaborate Barbie Dreamhouse sets and conceptual designs for all the Barbie and Friends characters, but I just wasn’t sold. The feeling was all too familiar when it came to these massive box office hits in the last 10 years; what started out as being spoon-fed shallow dialogue and generic storylines slowly became being force-fed the same regurgitated characters, jokes, and quips repeatedly. In fact, while re-watching trailers for this movie on YouTube, I came across the Bratz Movie (2007); I was not surprised to discover the first three minutes of this movie were identical to the Barbie Movie (2023), down to the similar intro song. Bratz is free on YouTube if you want to see it for yourself. I wanted more imaginative character plots, and storylines to match the legacy of Barbie Ruth Handler left behind. Instead, the story seems like an awkwardly strewn-together mix of ideas. Representative of the lacking story was the scene meant to pay homage to Ruth Handler, which appeared disconcerting to the bizarre chase scene. The plot could have been more balanced and would of made for a more enjoyable viewing experience. Maybe would of been less boring.

It would be unfair to disregard the hilarious and inventive performance by Ryan Gosling as Ken. But while Margot Robbie is usually known for her transformative roles, like Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, this time, her delivery seemed halfhearted and non-convincing. The overall cast was a perfect draw for all audiences: Michael Cera, Semu Liu, Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon,  America Ferrera, etc. Sadly, the efforts to pull together a diverse, star-studded cast felt wasteful. Some players seemed confused on whether they were acting in a kid’s or a serious movie. On his own, Michael Cera was amusing as Allan and Kate McKinnon provided much-needed comic relief. I wish I could say the same for Will Ferrell, but he did not deliver as expected; in fact, I wonder if Adam McKay’s absence from the director’s chair contributed to his completely unfunny performance. Overall, I was not impressed with the synchronization of performances, but alone, some were entertaining enough to keep me waiting for the movie to get better.

I will admit I did go to the premier dressed in my best cowgirl Barbie outfit, complete with $300 pink boots, excited to watch and unassuming of the disappointments to come. I was ready to love this movie. I ended up despising it. The storyline was convoluted and riddled with disingenuous feminist messages. I know many women had some profound experiences. Still, I felt like I was being pandered to and used by a production company that took advantage of my femineity to grossly monetize the feminist movement and add to their $31 Billion fortune.

Even though I give Barbie one star, I always think it is best to see for yourself. This movie is Rated PG and not meant for kids, but some may enjoy seeing Barbie Land and all the Barbie dolls in action.

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