Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy Life Is Plastic, It’s Fantastic

Life Is Plastic, It’s Fantastic

“Barbie” was directed & co-written by Greta Gerwig & is based on the Mattel toy line of the same name that was launched in 1959. The movie stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Limu, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman & Will Ferrell. The “Barbie” brand had a number of short animation series, short films & other media released since 2001 but this film marks the first live action full length motion picture. This production began in 2009 under Universal but it didn’t make any headway until 2014. By then, the movie rights were bought by Sony and thus began a plethora of writer changes, script rewrites & director changes. Originally, Amy Schumer was casted as the title character before being replaced by Anne Hathaway. In 2018, the movie rights were transferred to Warner Bros. & in 2019, Margot Robbie was announced to star in the movie after Gal Gadot had turned down the role due to scheduling conflicts. Great Gerwig was announced as the director in 2020 & filming began in 2022.

In Barbieland, “Stereotypical” Barbie (Robbie) lives amongst other dolls including her male counterpart, Ken (Gosling). One night, Barbie starts having thoughts of mortality & depression. She turns to “Weird” Barbie (McKinnon) for advice. “Weird” Barbie informs her that in the “Real World”, the girl who plays with her is the one having thoughts of mortality & depression. Barbie is now tasks to come to the Real World and help this young girl however she can. On this adventure, she’s joined by Ken only to realize that the Real World is much darker & viler than Barbieland. The young girl actually a grown woman, Gloria (Ferrera) with an angsty teenage daughter, who also works for the toy company that made Barbie & is ran by the CEO (Ferrell). Now, Barbie must help Gloria in both her professional & personal life before the CEO “resets” Barbie & Ken and sends them back Barbieland.

This film is definitely targeted towards women both young & old from a “feminist” standpoint but also young girls who grew up playing with Barbies. Margot Robbie was perfect as Barbie from the first teaser trailer that was released. Her performance really drives home the idea of a woman in a strange land, much like “Wonder Woman”, the whole “fish out of water” storyline. Ryan Gosling NAILS the Ken character down to a tee. His performance alone is probably the most entertaining part. He has a song & dance number towards the end that is both hilarious & charismatic. The look of this film is phenomenal, from Barbieland to the amazing wardrobe, Greta Gerwig definitely hits a homerun with this film based on the looks. Will Ferrell’s character is the only low point of the movie along with great but short screen time with America Ferrera. Ferrell as the bad guy didn’t work because he was too likeable and charming. With the exception of “Zoolander”, Will Ferrell as a bad didn’t really work especially due to the fact that he doesn’t have many scenes with Margot Robbie. America Ferrera gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough screen time. She comes in about halfway through the movie then her entire character arch starts & ends in the last 20 minutes of the movie. The movie so saturated with different characters & plot points that not everyone gets enough time in, or they get a lot of time but its uninteresting. When it got away from Barbie & Ken, it was a lost cause, but with Margot Robbie & Ryan Gosling, we get these fantastic performances that is entertaining & enjoyable.

The film premiered on July 9, 2023 & hit theaters on July 21 nationwide. The film came out the same time as the Christopher Nolan film, “Oppenheimer” starring Cillian Murphy. The 2 films coming out at the same time created the “Barbienheimer” effect with 2 major studios release 2 films at the same time. This film shattered multiple box office records, with a whopping $1.4 billion world wide. It became the highest grossing comedy of all time, the highest grossing film for Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling & Greta Gerwig. The highest grossing film with a solo female director & the fastest film to gross $1 billion for Warner Bros. following 2011’s “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows Part 2”. It was also the highest grossing film based on a toy line following 2009’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”. The film was made available on the streaming service, Max, on December 15, 2023.

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