First, I'm floored – shocked even – that Mattel allowed this movie to be made, screenplay intact. Not only is "Barbie" a scathing commentary on American patriarchy, but it's often a scathing commentary on Barbie herself – not the character, but the product. At one point, a teenage girl in the movie literally calls Barbie a fascist... to her face! ("You make girls hate themselves!" she says.)
Furthermore, the movie depicts an all-male team of bumbling Mattel executives – led by Will Ferrell, who's not given enough funny material – in a far less than flattering light.
In short, this is NOT a corporation-friendly movie, and that's to be admired.
There are also handfuls of genuinely funny moments, most of them centered around Ken, played winningly (and hotly) by Ryan Gosling, and Kate McKinnon, who shines as a mangled and uncharacteristically wise alternate Barbie.
I just wish the whole thing made more sense, and I know that's an odd request from a movie about dolls come to life. But it felt to me that the filmmakers were working so hard to hit us over the head with the noble feminist message that they didn't occupy themselves enough with the plot, which has numerous holes (unlike the dolls themselves).
Should you see it? Yes. It's one of the most daring, provocative, subversive movies of the past decade. Will you love every minute of it? Probably not. But there are certainly worse ways to spend an hour and 54 minutes than staring at Margot Robbie's face.
A final note: I want to own every single item in Ken's wardrobe, most especially the floor-length faux fur and the black fanny pack with the gold chain strap. Expect to see me in that full ensemble come Halloween.