Jeri Jacquin

Currently in theatres from writer/director Greta Gerwig and Warner Bros. Pictures is a story of the most iconic world with BARBIE.

Barbie (Margot Robbie) is the stereotypical Barbie living in Barbieland. Here, the women are successful and believe in the empowerment of women and, more importantly, they can do anything! Happy with her life, house and friends, she is living her best doll life. Friend Ken (Ryan Gosling) adores Barbie but can’t seem to make a more serious boyfriend-girlfriend connection.

One morning Barbie wakes up and strange things begin to happen. From having a dark thought (oh no, not Barbie and a dark thought!) to flat feet, she begins to panic and looks for answers. Everyone, that’s all the other Barbie’s in Barbieland suggest talking to ‘weird’ Barbie (Kate McKinnon). This particular Barbie has been played with, well, a bit rough but seems to have answers to stereotypical Barbie’s many questions.

‘Weird’ Barbie tells stereotypical Barbie that she must go into the ‘real world’ to find the child playing with her. Off for a big adventure, Barbie shouldn’t be surprised that Ken has grabbed his roller blades and intends to join his friend on her quest. After a bit of surreal travelling, they end up at Venice Beach and people who aren’t really sure what they are seeing.

Barbie hunts for her person and meets Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), her mom Gloria (America Ferrera) and the shock of the truth between the three women. Ken hits the books to discover the idea of a patriarchy coming from a girl power world. Wanting them found immediately is the Mattell CEO (Will Ferrell) and his group of male minions before Barbieland is turned on its axis!

Once they all return to Barbieland, things have changed and Barbie needs the help of Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, Barbie and even Midge to set their world right. There is no way these gals are going to let there be a Ken takeover – not on the lawn of their dream houses! When it comes time to decide on her life, the one and only Ruth (Rhea Perlman), creator of Barbie, has something to share with the open-hearted Barbara.

Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie is just that, a lovely Barbie who loves her life, her dreamhouse and all the other Barbie friends she has. Of course, she has style, an outlook that is positive and a desire to encourage all her friends. The one thing she isn’t sure of is Ken and his strange intentions towards her. Going into the real world is an eye opener and even more so a mind opener for her. Robbie gives us everything and more portraying a doll that has been in homes for more generations than we can count. She also brings on the laughs both big and small, high heeled feet or flat, stylish outfit or not, Robbie put it all on the line.

Gosling as Ken didn’t strike me as the person for the role and I’m happy to say I was wrong. Not only did Gosling become Ken, but gave the audience a Ken that we never thought of before. I will admit that the two other ladies sitting with me were cracking up as hard as I was. We spent so many minutes wiping tears away that we are probably going to have to see BARBIE again in case we missed anything. Watching him come out of a library started it all and his twisted understanding of a patriarchy is hilarious. Even when Ken was being, well Ken, we cheered for him to come back to a better and self-improved Ken. Gosling brought a matching exuberance to his role as Robbie does and for that, they literally are Barbie and Ken – okay, okay, Ken and Barbie.

Ferrera as Gloria is a hard-working mom who feels the connection as a parent slowly being eaten away. Feeling like she can’t seem to stop the spiral, she finds herself being creative and that’s what starts the Barbie beach ball rolling. Ferrera portrays her character like many moms feel when their kids get past the Barbie phase and into the madness of the hormone enraged teen years. As Gloria, when the chance to do something amazing presents itself, Ferrera gives us hope that escaping to Barbieland isn’t such a bad thing.

Greenblatt as Sasha is an angry and a bit rebellious teen who has no problem chewing people up. When Barbie tries to talk with Sasha, that very thing happens. Whatever her issues are, she certainly didn’t hesitate to take it out on a woman named Barbie. Not a fan of anything the life size doll stands for, she begrudgingly follows her mom to try and fix what became broken.

Shout out to Will Ferrell as the CEO of Mattel who is just a little too involved in how to get a doll back in the box.

On the Barbie side is Issa Rae as president Barbie, Alexandra Shipp as Barbie, Emma Mackey as Barbie, Hari Nef as Barbie, Sharon Rooney as Barbie, Ana Cruz Kayne as Barbie, Dua Lipa as Barbie, Nicola Coughlan as Barbie and Emerald Finnell as Midge.

On the Ken side is Simu Liu as Ken, Kingsley Ben-Adir as Ken, Ncuti Gatwa as Ken, Scott Evans as Ken, John Cena as Ken and Michael Cera as Allan.

Other cast include, Connor Swindells as Aaron, Ray Fearon as Dan of the FBI, Erica Ford as Skipper, Hannah Khalique-Brown as Browing up Skipper, Marisa Abela as Teen Talk Barbie, Lucy Boynton as Proust Barbie, Rob Brydon as Sugar Daddy Ken, Tom Stourton as Earring Magic Ken, Chris Taylor as Ken Emcee, and David Mumeni as Footrub Ken.

I wish I could list every person in the film because you take away one and the House of Barbie would fall completely.

BARBIE is a film that seems to be thrilling to audiences and a film that moms are taking their daughters to see (in my case granddaughter with both the kid’s grandma’s). Yes, it is colorful, entertaining and has everything one would want from Barbie but it also has something for the adults with its ‘entendre that seems double’.

The story is a smash through the road/sky/sea etc. from Barbieland to the real world. The moment they show up, even the people in Venice can’t wrap their heads around neo clothes and skates. Watching Barbie learn that the world isn’t everything she thought it was can be a tough watch but seeing Ken take on the patriarchy through a cowboy hat and beer is also a tougher watch, especially when he makes his big confession.

Okay, let’s get on with it here, BARBIE isn’t meant to be taken as seriously as it seems some people are taking it. Yes, it’s a film about a doll, about her unreal world, the real world (which didn’t seem all that real either), Barbies versus Kens with song and dance in between is pure fun. I watched an eight-year-old have the time of her life with laughter, awwwww’s, and self-righteous indignation and the smarts to know that adults need to chill out. She even wanted her picture taken with the small set up the local theatre had in place when normally she would walk by such things. Telling her parents how much fun it was showed that perhaps adults could learn a lesson about it all.

So, gather up the gang and don’t let the name of the film fool you because BARBIE has a story to tell and it wouldn’t hurt us to listen!

In the end – she’s everything and he’s just Ken!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.