I never played with dolls when I was growing up. Other than my WWII army men and my Civil War set, most of my playing was done outside or spent with an electric football set. I once stole a Ken doll from my sister’s collection so the Lorimer twins and I could dress it up in GI Joe clothes. We headed to the creek behind Happy Valley School and waged a ferocious battle with the Viet Cong. The GI Joe’s held their line as best as they could, but poor Ken was not so lucky. It turns out he was no match for the firecrackers we hooked up to him.
Unfortunately, the Viet Cong hauled Ken away before he could be saved by GI Joe and company. I have always wondered what happened to Ken. My hope is years later he was freed from the cage he was confined to by a group of kids playing with their Rambo doll. One thing is for certain, my sister never knew who took her Ken doll.
Had I been given a choice to come clean and deal with an ass spanking from Dad and his infamous paddle or be required to sit through a movie about Barbie and Ken, I would have opted for swats from my old man. Alas, my theft and Karma caught up to me, which is why I am now writing about my time in Barbie prison, aka as a feature film.
How does a man like me end up watching a film like Barbie? Let’s just say as far as first dates go, this one stood out more because of the film than it did for the rest of the date.
I can honestly say, the Barbie movie is by far the best film I have gone to see this decade. It is also the only film I have seen in a theater this decade so technically it is the worst one I have watched.
The casting of Barbie has been a controversial matter. I guess there are a lot of folks out there who think someone else should have played the role given to Margot Robbie. I have no idea why other than maybe she is not a natural blonde. What I do know is that Ryan Gosling made a strange choice for Ken. He just lacked that clean wholesome look I saw in Ken’s eyes right before he was blown to shreds behind Happy Valley School on that fateful day. Besides, I always figured they would cast someone taller and younger.
Fortunately, I have been inundated with ads and promos of the film, so it was easy for me to accept who played the lead roles. What is difficult to buy into is why this film is such a hit, considering Tom Cruise has nothing to do with it. I will need to dig deeper into this film and see if in fact Tom and Scientology were behind it. I have tried reaching out to Mr. Cruise but his people want nothing to do with my people at the moment. Perhaps our intrepid Claudia Gestro will have better luck since she scores interviews with all the big sports stars.
Anyway, back to the film. Barbie’s message is about as subtle as a Mike Tyson fight plan. It smacks you in the face from the start and doesn’t let up until the final joke. The pace is painful, its constant message borders on brainwashing, and the story is so convoluted that you forget about all the pink. Will Ferrell is a lot of things, funny is not one of them in this film. However, he served to remind me to check my eyebrows when I got home and trim them up if needed. Rhea Pearlman is a gem in an all too small role and America Ferrera also plays her part well. Unfortunately, this is a film starring dolls that come to life only their personalities were pretty dull and lifeless.
If you think this film is going to be kid and parent friendly like the original Toy Story, it isn’t. If it takes a film like this to teach young girls about female empowerment, men need not worry about the future of who runs the world. Stay home and have your girls watch the Women’s World Cup, it will do them better than this film.
What I like about Barbie is what I find I also like about Thelma and Louise. Women can make a film aimed specifically at a female audience with a female message that draws viewers into what is traditionally a film genre dominated by men. It doesn’t matter if a man who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s doesn’t find the idea of dolls coming to life and dropping into the real world worth his time.
We’ve seen plenty of male dominated films that have done much worse that made no effort to attract a female audience and most of them were every bit as bad as Barbie. If anything can get Hollywood to begin turning out new products aimed at new audiences other than the same old crap superhero films they keep churning out, then I am all for it. I just hope it doesn’t include any sequels to Barbie.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.