Dulis: Looks Like ‘Barbie’ Marketing Was a Bait-and-Switch for Preachy Propaganda

dulis looks like barbie marketing was a bait and switch for preachy propaganda
Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros’ Barbie film is tracking for a huge opening weekend, beating Guardians of the Galaxy 3 to take the crown for the best Thursday previews box-office haul of the year. But early reviews have revealed the Greta Gerwig-directed picture devolves into a series of moralizing monologues — not the light, fun adventure promised in its marketing.

The trailers for Barbie did not give away much of the film’s plot — just that producer and star Margot Robbie’s character lives in an idyllic world resembling the aesthetics of the iconic toys, and when she starts to notice imperfections, she embarks on a quest to the Real World to find the answers to her new dilemmas. Sounds a tad gnostic, personally, but you can see how that premise could be a good time at the movies.

However, several conservative commentators have called out Barbie for getting bogged down in culture-war pedantry. Robert Barnes, a lawyer who has defended clients such as Nick Sandmann and Kyle Rittenhouse, calls the movie a “bait-and-switch” that is not geared toward children at all:

YouTuber Lauren Chen reveals a major subplot is Ryan Gosling’s Ken discovering the real world is patriarchal and enthusiastically importing toxic masculinity back into Barbie World, which is matriarchal. “The lengths the studio went to hide how INSUFFERABLY WOKE this movie is are astounding,” she writes.

My former colleague Christian Toto of Hollywood in Toto says the film “drowns in feminism” and the only thing missing from its man-hating script is a few Handmaid’s Tale robes:

When Barbie and Ken leave their world to visit the Real one, everything changes. Ken discovers the Patriarchy, and he likes it! (The screenplay mentions the “patriarchy” 10 times… 10!) Barbie encounters rampant sexism, like AMC’s “Mad Men” on steroids.

Gerwig, along with collaborator Noah Baumbach, have an agenda to push that drains the joy from their creation time after time… Every time the film gains momentum it pauses to make a mini-speech[.] The characters can’t move beyond these moments because there’s always another minutes away.

Armond White reveals some truly abominable dialogue:

Gerwig and Baumbach promote querulous sloganeering… They spout outdated grievances about women’s ability to “hold logic and feeling at the same time,” adding irrational complaints about women not being credited for the “control of trains or the flow of commerce.”

Barbie grouses about “sexualized capitalism” and pouts “I’m not pretty.”

America Ferrera and Issa Rae give abominable speeches about Latino and black feminist sacrifice.

Gerwig tosses in terms such as “irrepressible thoughts of death,” “Proustian flashback,” and “patriarchy anxiety.”

Kyle Smith in the Wall Street Journal describes the viewing experience as “going to the cotton-candy factory to find it producing lead pipes”:

As bubbly as the film appears, its script is like a grumpier-than-average women’s studies seminar. At one point, nearing the climax, “Barbie” stops cold so a Mattel doll designer (America Ferrera) with depressive inclinations can deliver a long monologue on how miserable it is to be female… Hearing characters issue denunciations such as “You fascist!” while Barbie muses that the fate of women is “Either you’re brainwashed or you’re weird and ugly—there is no in-between” is like going to the cotton-candy factory to find it producing lead pipes. Don’t we go to a movie like “Barbie” to escape the harrumphing tone of the most aggrieved Twitter users?

Of course, we’ve been highlighting the breadcrumbs dropped by the film’s stars that there would, at the very least, be some woke messaging, but these early reviews make it sound like the preachiness is on a whole ‘nother level.

There’s no denying Barbie will make a ton of money this weekend. With a reported budget of $145 million and a projected worldwide box-office haul of over $300 million, it could quickly turn profitable for the studio, making up for The Flash‘s major losses.

Barbie has the enviable position of being a widely-known IP and standing out from the pack in a climate of franchise fatigue. It has a distinctive look and tone, it’s spawned a million goofy memes, it’s been forever since Hollywood had a winning comedy film, and the marketing has been ubiquitous.

Unfortunately, it looks as though this picture will be a divisive, culture-war flashpoint rather than a box-office smash that brings Americans together.

Authored by Ezra Dulis via Breitbart July 22nd 2023