The Barbie movie: Plastic fantastic or dollpocalypse now?

Barbie_lNow that boys and their toys (G.I. Joe, Transformers, et al) have essentially turned the cineplex into a giant sandbox, isn’t it time to let the girls play? Never fear, ladies; your time is near: Universal just signed a deal with Mattel to make a live-action movie starring the biggest—in sales, not waist size—of all girl toys: Barbie.

None of the project’s details have been worked out yet, but we’re already a little skeptical. Isn’t the whole point of Barbie that she’s got a personality as blank as her expression? That works fine for a doll, but 90 minutes of pretty hair and pool parties does not a movie make. (Or does it?)

Time for you to sound off, PopWatchers. Take our poll below to let us know what you think about the idea of Barbie on the big screen.

We also want to hear your plot ideas for the movie: Should Barbie get evicted from her Malibu dreampad and have to move in with her bratty lil sis Skipper in the big city? Or maybe they go for comedy and make Barbie a distaff Don Quixote who sails through life thinking everything is as perfect as her smile (à la the post-modern masterpiece known as The Brady Bunch Movie)? Go ahead and leave your best (short!) pitches in the comments below!

Image Credit: Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Comments (44 total) Add your comment
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  • Q

    Women don’t have the same nostalgia for their childhood stuff like boys do with their toys. Just look at the box office of Transformers compared to Bratz. Frankly, for this film to succeed, it would have to take a blueprint from Sex and the City. However, that would probably be too risque for a child’s doll. I just don’t see how this can work.

    • Auriana

      We do have nostalgia, or at least some of us do. Then again, I also played with a lot of “boy” toys growing up. I always wanted to be Scarlet in GI Joe and my favorite of all time is still Voltron. That being said, why Barbie (never was a fan)? Why not one that translates a bit better like She-Ra or even My Little Pony or Rainbow Brite?

      • MtP

        Amen! She Ra and/or Rainbow!

    • Chelle

      Clearly you’re speaking for yourself, Q. I am highly nostalgic for my Barbie days! Bratz was not a movie based on nostalgia, as the line came out in 2001 and the movie was marketed to the little girls who had those dolls in their hands as their mom or dad drove to the theatre.

      Barbie has been around for 50 years; although she has never been given a decisive storyline for her life that would translate into a concrete idea for a movie (however cheesy it might wind up being) part of her charm is the fact that she has been and done everything. She has embodied the zeitgeist decade after decade providing a historical record of American culture – and yes, sometimes that includes focusing on a girl’s obsession with pool parties and brushing one’s hair.

      Personally, I don’t care what this movie winds up being about, I am so there.

    • Jami

      I don’t know. I’d still watch a really great movie with pretty little ponies. I am 32. Barbie was fun but hard to really love. You liked her and her cool stuff–but I don’t think anyone in my ‘hood really loved her.

  • Pslightly Psycho

    I think it is safe to say that the creativity well in Hollywood has officially run dry. Sequels, prequels, remakes, “reimaginings,” movies based on books, movies based on old TV shows, movies based on amusement park rides, movies based on board games, movies based on children’s toys…nary a single ORIGINAL idea amongst them. What’s next? BRATZ THE MOVIE?! Oh yeah-that was done already…

  • Anjeliki

    I think this movie has already been made. It was called Mean Girls. Though comparing a Barbie movie to Mean Girls may be giving it too much credit.

    • a person

      ya tho in Mean Girls Cady calls Regina the “barbie doll she never had” or something like that!

  • mdw225

    I’m pretty sure I already saw the Barbie movie. It was called “Legally Blonde.”

    • Nic.


    • Samael

      Hahaha, yes, I think that’s kidda what a Barbie movie would look like. Hollywood is going down in creativity really fast.

    • Chris


    • MsSunidaze

      Ha. That was the first thing I thought of too.

  • Laura

    No, no, no… just, no.

  • Rich

    Time to buy stock in companies that make pink paint.

  • NYLA

    Barbie will be a hard sell. She was never really given a storyline so they wont have anything to build the character on. A better movie would be Jem!!! Jem had a doll and a show, not to mention the character ran her own record company, fronted a rock band, opened a safe house for homeless and abused young girls and had a decent love life. She would actually be a good role model for young girls.

    • Aprilcot26

      Jem was freakin’ awesome!

    • Vic

      Jem would be a truly truly truly outrageous movie :)

      • Josie

        Me and my friends used to pretend we were JEM. My name starts with J, the other E (emily), the other M (mary)! We would totally get together to see this movie!

  • Kanye

    Yo Barbie, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Bratz was the great doll-based film of all time!

    • gstar

      oh yes! good call…

  • Paul

    A movie about people owning Barbie dolls would be fun. Little girls projecting on them, adult collectors/fetishers, the blatent marketing (first as the ultimate female, later movie tie-ins, girls who chop off Barbie’s hair, chew on the plastic shoes, dogs who bite ther heads off, and of course girls who had naked Barbie and Ken going at it. THAT kind of movie, a look at how a cultural icon has been interpreted and regarded through the cultural history of the past 50 years would be fun.

    Unfortunately, I think they’re planning her to be a real person, beautiful (thin, blonde) that can be ANYTHING she wants! Sorry, I saw that filmstrip 20 years ago.

    And everyone knows the real Barbie gave her best movie performance as Karen Carpenter in Todd Haynes’ “Superstar”.

    • mscisluv

      There actually are a few documentaries about Barbie that depict what you describe.

  • LisaMama

    Barbie was always about taking the doll and using your imagination — my Barbie was a detective in love with Remington Steele. Why do they want to take that story-telling away from little girls and put Barbie into some ridiculous plot? Ugh!

  • jade

    barbie dolls freak me out

  • a person

    i dont kno what a barbie movie would b about, because when i was little i had a hundred barbies n spent the majority of the time trying to fix their hair (same w/ my American Girl Doll who had terrible hair)

  • Jan D

    Hate to break it to you Popwatch, but there have already been 3 Barbie movies. All direct to DVD, and all nothing but a 90 minute commercial for Barbie.

  • DRevo2

    They already did this movie. It’s called Life Size w/ Lohan and Tyra Banks. Tyra was a Barbie-like doll that became a human and could not get a grasp on the real world. Thought she had held every job, was a perfect cook, lived in a Malibu beach house where she held innumerable parties, and drove a red convertible with her group of perfect friends.

    Made for TV and could be made into a feature film.

    Who do you see as Barbie? Pam Anderson has the right physique, but is too old. And who plays Ken?

    • mscisluv

      Life Size was such a cute movie!

  • MtP

    Wait- I have seen this one, it’s called “Legally Blonde”. Seriously, gorgeous blonde defies her critics and proves that blondes can be brainy and fashionable all at the same time?

    The thing with GI Joe and Transformers- they were popular cartoons, THEN toys… built in storyline. I LOVED my Barbies- but I made up my own stories- how can hollywood beat that?

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