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Barbie (2023) movie review and synopsis

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Barbie (2023) movie review and synopsis

“Barbie” can be hysterically funny, with giant laugh-out-loud moments liberally distributed. They come from the isolation of an idyllic realm, tinged with rose and the physical comedy of fish-out-of-water moments and choice pop culture references as the outside world takes over more and more. But because the marketing campaign has been so clever and so ubiquitous, you might find you’ve already seen a fair amount of the movie’s inspired moments, such as the 2001: A Space Odyssey homage and Ken’s self-pitying ’80s power ballad. Such is the industrial complex of reception.

And so you probably already know the basic plot: Barbie (Margot Robbie), the most popular of all Barbies in Barbieland, begins to experience an existential crisis. She must travel to the human world in order to understand herself and discover her true purpose. Her hunky boyfriend, Ken (Ryan Gosling), comes along for the ride because his existence depends on knowing Barbie. The two discover harsh truths – and make new friends – along the path to enlightenment. This seepage of bleak reality into an obsessively crafted fantasy recalls the revelations of The Truman Show and The LEGO Movie, but through a sordid prism that’s uniquely Gerwig’s.

This is a film that acknowledges Barbie’s unrealistic physical size—and the kinds of very real body issues it can cause in young girls—while also celebrating her role as a feminist icon. After all, there was an astronaut Barbie doll (1965) before there was a real woman in NASA’s astronaut corps (1978), a feat that “Barbie” commemorates by showing two suited women soaring among the stars, with an Earth-bound Barbie of Rob greeting them, “Y! This is also a movie in which Mattel (the doll’s maker) and Warner Bros. (the film’s distributor) at least they create the appearance that they’re in for surprisingly witty jokes at their own expense. Mattel headquarters features a spacious, top-floor conference room populated only by men with a heart shape, “Dr. Strangelove-inspired lamp hovers over the desk, yet CEO Will Ferrell insists his company’s “gender-neutral bathrooms up the wazoo” are a testament to diversity. It’s a neat trick.

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