Countless tiny outfits have been tailored to Barbie’s impossible hour-glass figure but the 64-year-old fashionista just had her most spectacular makeover yet.
Director Greta Gerwig turns the much-maligned doll into a feminist icon in a delightfully unhinged comedy that is definitely not suitable for little girls.
The widely anticipated film begins by parodying every six-year-old’s favourite movie, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Bored girls are playing with baby dolls until Margot Robbie’s blonde “Stereotypical Barbie” materialises like Kubrick’s monolith.
Helen Mirren’s narrator reminds us that aspirational and diverse new models followed. “Thanks to Barbie, all problems with feminism and equal rights have been solved,” she adds.
We then land in Barbieland, a plastic world where all the Barbies live in a joyous sisterhood and the Kens stand on a beach looking pretty.
But Robbie’s original Barbie is shaken when she wakes up with cellulite and her pointy, stiletto-ready feet flattened.
Mis-shapen guru Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon) tells her these are signs that her owner is troubled and tells her to find her in “The Real World”.
Her Ken (a very funny Ryan Gosling) tags along and, when the pair rollerblade into LA, they get a surprise. Leering workmen make suggestive comments and, when she visit’s Mattel HQ, she discovers the board is all male.
This inspires liberated Ken to lead a macho Barbieland coup involving “brewski beer”, man caves and leather pants.
As a battle of the sexes develops, the film turns into a riot of silly musical routines, comedy sketches and sharp one liners. The feminist parable doesn’t always make sense and some characters fail to come to life.
But, after a raft of over-polished blockbusters, this messiness feels refreshing. Barbie is a rare Hollywood blockbuster that is prepared to take some risks.
Barbie, Cert 12A, In cinemas now