Mattel Police Officer Barbie [Toy]
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A disco number nicks fashions from Saturday Night Fever, while the kooky absurdist humor has roots in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. She resolves the many contradictions of the male gaze by slicing through the Gordian knot, simply concluding that whatever women want is fine, so long as everyone lets them live their lives in peace. The doll was a revelation during its time in that it was the first one to have the image and figure of a full grown woman instead of a baby or child.
Other reference points work on the conceptual level; Barbie’s revelatory sight through her artificial status quo nods to The Matrix, The Truman Show, and the rest of the entries from the Onscreen Existentialism for Dummies canon.She’s spoken in interviews about the many Technicolor marvels of the past that contributed to the vivid palette of Barbie’s blissfully non-real homeworld, everything from Golden Age musicals like The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain to transatlantic imports like The Red Shoes and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Ferrera’s character pitches the CEO on a normal-person Barbie, a character unencumbered by the expectations to be an immaculately manicured beauty nor a successful career woman.
The reactionary weirdoes decrying Barbie as peddling the “woke” agenda haven’t pulled much of a gotcha, accurately summarizing the textual substance of a film about one woman’s sudden burst of institutional consciousness.When the news first broke that Greta Gerwig would tackle a Barbie movie, excitement started to build long before anyone actually knew what that meant.
During an argument, Ken hurls Barbie’s wardrobe out through the missing fourth wall of her home, and each outfit momentarily flattens into a display-fold with logo and caption while suspended in the air. Odd man-boy out among the fellas is Cera’s Allan, the less-macho Ken alternative initially marketed as a “friend” and shown here to enjoy giving the guys foot massages.
Warhol’s axiom about art being whatever you can get away with comes to mind in surprisingly off-brand moments such as the instant-classic punch line that ties a ribbon on the film.