Barbie ★★★

It's a good thing this is so well designed visually and lands as many jokes as it does, because whenever it reaches for sincerity, it trips over its own self-conscious need to justify its existence. Barbie is essentially a two-hour-long apology by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach for having agreed to aid Mattel in its quest to conquer the cinematic IP market; and what it demonstrates once again is that being self-aware about the racket one is engaged in – and underlining this fact with as many nods to Zack Snyder's Justice League discourse and surface-level invocations of current talking points (fascism! capitalism! patriarchy!) as possible – is not the same as meaningfully pushing back against said racket. Lots of laughs, Margot Robbie is good, Ryan Gosling is great, the production design is outstanding; but the film's mostly generic story and largely unearned insistence on its own critical edge make me think I don't need to see it again in a hurry. It's fine.

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