A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that fashion and shopping are the main attractions in this Barbie story. Not only are the fashion items shown in the movie available for purchase in the real world, but role model characters encourage the Barbie characters to shop as both a form of entertainment and a way to save a friend. In an interesting gender role twist, Ken must be saved from a forced marriage, but this storyline isn't enough to make up for catty behavior and other stereotypical female behavior.
What's the story?
Barbie (voiced by Diana Kaarina) is getting ready for a walk down the red carpet with the help of her stylist friends Taylor (Kate Higgins) and Carrie (Cassandra Morris). When she gets to her movie debut, her co-star, Raquelle (Britt Irvin), ruins her dress. Not to worry! Barbie's stylists know what to do, and, as if by magic, her dress is repaired. But magic actually is at work, since the stylists are really fairies. Meanwhile, a spellbound fairy princess kidnaps Ken to be her fiance, which means that Barbie and her fairy friends have to do some fancy maneuvering to save him.
Is it any good?
There isn't much substance to BARBIE: A FAIRY SECRET, which makes its faults all the more obvious. Most glaring is the gotta-have-it shopping compulsion that dominates the plot. One of the role model-type adults admits that she has created fairy transport portals to take her to "two of my favorite shopping spots when I just can't wait" to buy something. That's not just a subtle pitch for kids to get hooked on spending -- it's a frontal assault.
Though it's targeted at younger kids, there are themes here that are better suited to tweens and teens -- like very sarcastic, catty comments among frenemies, girls flirting with other girls' boyfriends, and plots to undermine girls' success. Most of these issues are confronted and dealt with, but with what consequences? There's too much Real Housewives and not enough fairy innocence in this movie for it to be recommended.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about product placement. Do you notice certain items in the movie that you've also seen in a store? How are they are advertised in this movie? Does seeing a toy or other product in a movie or TV show make you want to buy it?
Raquelle admits that she has been mean to Barbie because she felt insecure about herself. How else do we act out when we feel badly about ourselves? What are more constructive ways to make ourselves feel better?
Ken is kidnapped and forced to wed a princess. What's unusual about that set-up? Who usually rescues whom?
For kids who love fairies
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