Barbie First Reviews: Hysterically Funny, Perfectly Cast, and Affectionately Crafted (2024)

Marketed as a movie for people who love the doll and also for people who hate the doll, Barbie could just be the most accessible release of the summer. But is the adaptation of the iconic toy actually any good? The first reviews call it a smart and hilarious delight, it’s definitely worth a look, no matter who you are or what you feel about the doll. Starring Margot Robbie in the title role and a scene-stealing Ryan Gosling as Ken, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s cotton candy-hued Certified Fresh spectacle is apparently for all people who love a fun time at the movies.

Here’s what critics are saying about Barbie:

Is the movie funny?

Barbie can be hysterically funny, with giant laugh-out-loud moments generously scattered throughout.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“Often funny, occasionally very funny, but sometimes also somehow demure and inhibited, as if the urge to be funny can only be mean and satirical.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“The entire screenplay is packed with winking one-liners, the kind that reward a rewatch.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

“One of the funniest comedies of the year.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

Will fans of Greta Gerwig’s other movies enjoy Barbie?

“In some ways, Barbie builds on themes Gerwig explored in Lady Bird and Little Women.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter

Barbie balances the incredibly pointed specificity of the jokes and relatability of Lady Bird, with the celebration of women and the ability to show a new angle of something we thought we knew like we saw with Gerwig’s take on Little Women.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

“Never doubt Gerwig.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

Barbie First Reviews: Hysterically Funny, Perfectly Cast, and Affectionately Crafted (1)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

How is the script?

“It’s almost shocking how much this duo gets away with in this script, and in certain moments, like a major speech by America Ferrera’s Gloria, who works at Mattel, it’s beautiful that some of these scenes can exist in a big-budget summer film like this.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

“One character delivers a lengthy, third-act speech about the conundrum of being a woman and the contradictory standards to which society holds us… [and it’s] a preachy momentum killer — too heavy-handed, too on-the-nose, despite its many insights. ” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“The moments that aren’t just laughing at and with the crowd, however, are shoved into long, important monologues that, with each recitation, dull the impact of their message.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter

Does it stick the landing?

“The second half of Barbie bogs down a bit.” – Michael Philips, Chicago Tribune

”It’s frustratingly uneven at times. After coming on strong with wave after wave of zippy hilarity, the film drags in the middle as it presents its more serious themes.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

Barbie First Reviews: Hysterically Funny, Perfectly Cast, and Affectionately Crafted (2)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

How does it look?

“It’s a visual feast.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“Highest honors to production designer Sarah Greenwood, costume designer Jacqueline Durran and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto.” – Michael Philips, Chicago Tribune

How is Margot Robbie as Barbie?

“She’s the perfect casting choice; it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role… Her performance is a joy to behold.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“She gives an impressively transformative performance, moving her arms and joints like they’re actually made of plastic.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

“Anything Gerwig and Baumbach’s verbally dexterous script requires, from Barbie’s first teardrop to the final punchline, Robbie handles with unerring precision.” – Michael Philips, Chicago Tribune

“Robbie is simply incredible in the title role… She has often excelled in these types of roles where we see the power a woman truly has in her environment, but there might not be a better example of that than in Barbie.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

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(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

What about Ryan Gosling’s Ken?

“For an actor who’s spent much of his career brooding moodily, here, he finally gets to tap into his inner Mousketeer.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

“Ryan Gosling is a consistent scene-stealer… He’s a total hoot.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“Ken allows Gosling to go broad in a way that we’ve never seen him go before, and the result is charming, bizarre, and one of the most hysterical performances of the year.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

Does it feel like a toy commercial?

“It’s Gerwig’s care and attention to detail that gives Barbie an actual point of view, elevating it beyond every other cynical, IP-driven cash grab.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

Barbie could’ve just been a commercial, but Gerwig makes this life of plastic into something truly fantastic.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

“This movie is perhaps a giant two-hour commercial for a product, although no more so than The Lego Movie, yet Barbie doesn’t go for the comedy jugular anywhere near as gleefully as that.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“The muddied politics and flat emotional landing of Barbie are signs that the picture ultimately serves a brand.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter

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(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Are there any big problems?

“If the film has a flaw, it’s that Barbie and Ken are so delightful that their real-world counterparts feel dull by comparison.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

“The only segment of Barbie that doesn’t work as well as it maybe should is the addition of Mattel into this narrative.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

“Because the marketing campaign has been so clever and so ubiquitous, you may discover that you’ve already seen a fair amount of the movie’s inspired moments.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

Who is the movie ultimately for?

Barbie works hard to entertain both 11-year-old girls and the parents who’ll bring them to the theater.” – Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

Barbie doesn’t have that tiring air of trying to be everything to everybody. With luck, and a big opening, it might actually find the audience it deserves just by being its curious, creative, buoyant self.” – Michael Philips, Chicago Tribune

Barbie opens in theaters everywhere on July 21, 2023.

Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros. Pictures

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Barbie First Reviews: Hysterically Funny, Perfectly Cast, and Affectionately Crafted (2024)
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