An excerpt from my script review for Barbie which will be available 01/01/24:

4.) Dialogue and Description

The dialogue was fine, especially because of things like the above point.

For instance on page 8 where all the Barbies and Kens are saying hello to one another, it was mentally digestible to figure out how the group was greeting each other.

Similar to my above point though, don’t reference specific actors by name unless you know they’re committed to your project.

In this case, the version of the script we read was more than likely a final draft or shooting script, so putting Helen Mirren in as the narrator isn’t an issue because Helen Mirren has probably already said “yes”.

The only other two notes I had for dialogue were…

Page 69:

So each Barbie has their own house?
Where do the Kens stay?

(this has never occurred
to her before)
I don’t know!

To me this exchange was kind of sad. I think it’s meant as a joke, but it was a question that lingered in the back of my mind before and after I read it.

Say all you will about “the patriarchy” but to imply that we, as men, only think about women when they’re in front of us, like some nonexistent 1950s martini drinking husband stereotype, is pretty lame.

I get it, we’re a long way from equality as a society, but I’m still going to care about a person who’s an important part of my life…even if it’s a woman.

(Shocking, I know.)

Page 86:

Note to the filmmakers: You should
have never cast Margot Robbie if
you wanted to make this point.

Stuff like this I did enjoy in the script and film. Realistically how are we supposed to believe the point when Margot Robbie is saying she isn’t pretty?

On the description…

First and foremost…way too many references to other films.

For the fun tone of this script, one or two weren’t bad, but remember when you reference another film, particularly a successful one, you’ve just created a comparison whether you meant to or not.


On page 61 Sasha references in a line of dialogue that Barbie Margot and Gloria are Shining and then on the same page we’re told that Gloria drives “like a scene from Bullitt”.

And that’s two of many in just a single page.

Does the Bullitt car chase scene “fill in the gaps”? Probably, and if it was one reference of only a couple, I wouldn’t have minded. But the other issue with these types of references is that it jars a reader out of the world you’re creating.

That’s bad.

(Anytime a reader is reminded they’re reading a script, which is work, you’re doing yourself a disservice.)

For me, the sheer amount of movie reference after movie reference was hard to get through, and this 116 page script was not a quick read because of that.

Another issue I had with the script was that the writing felt lazy at times.

Page 46:

Sasha’s verbal jabs are like a boxer relentlessly landing
punches in a ring, maybe we even shoot it like Raging Bull.
She is clearly so smart and so articulate that you can’t help
but admire her.

You can’t tell us a character is smart or articulate in a line of description. You have to show us through their dialogue and actions.

Was what Sasha said okay? Sure, but it didn’t make me instantly admire her in either the film or the script.

She came across as a sassy teenager trying to look cool in front of her friends.

No amount of “telling” me what I’m supposed to see in her is going to change that, so don’t be lazy.

Do the work.

Lastly from page 30:

Note: this is more real than Barbie Land but still
heightened, like a 1980s comedy – slightly exaggerated. Like
there is no way Ferris Bueller sang the Beatles at that
German parade, but we allow it because it’s fun. Same here.

More often than not, if you feel the urge to put a “NOTE” in your script…don’t.

(Oftentimes using notes is another “cheat” to get out of doing your work as a writer.)

What was the point of this?

I don’t understand the need to reference Ferris Bueller singing.

We’ll get that the Venice Beach scene is “fun” by how it plays out.

There’s no real reason to tell us.

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