14 Little Details In The Barbie Movie Only Adults Notice

Well, the much-anticipated "Barbie" movie is finally here — and it certainly does not disappoint. Directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie as the titular doll along with Ryan Gosling as her dimly cheerful beachy boyfriend, Ken, the film has already smashed records. After its first weekend in cinemas, it was named the biggest opening for a female director and after just one week, it brought in $256.6 million. In other words, "Barbie" is officially the movie of the summer.

Even though the film sees the famous Mattel doll get the live-action treatment, it isn't exactly a kids' film. Mattel's film producer Robbie Brenner told Variety that the company had decided to take some big risks by making the film more adult and complicated than people might have expected. "When everybody read the script here for the first time, I'm sure there were things that were like, 'Wow, that sort of pushes things a little bit,'" Brenner said. "But we all decided there were going to be moments where it might feel a little scary, but we're going to be rewarded for that ... And that's what we did." 

That certainly is what they did. Kids will love it, but adults will probably love it more. Here are 14 parts of "Barbie" that only adults will get.

The opening is a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey

From the very first moments of "Barbie," the film features references to other famous films. In the first scene, we see a group of little girls playing with baby dolls in a prehistoric landscape. "Since the beginning of time, since the first little girl ever existed, there have been dolls," comes Helen Mirren's voiceover. Then, out of nowhere, a giant Barbie doll appears. The girls are stunned — soon, they are tossing their baby dolls in the air and smashing them with rocks. Barbie, it seems, has taken over the doll industry for good.

While kids may find this scene funny, only adults are likely to get the reference. The scene mirrors the opening scene of the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film "2001: Space Odyssey," in which apes discover a giant silver rectangle and it seemingly leads to their discovery of tools — soon, we see an ape using a bone as a hammer. Greta Gerwig even uses the same song, Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra," in her scene in "Barbie." 

Greta Gerwig's color scheme is inspired by a famous French director

After the ironic Kubrick-esque opening of "Barbie," we are quickly swept away to Barbieland where the dolls all live. Barbieland is a sea of candy-colored perfection. While kids will instantly recognize the dreamhouses and Barbie clothes they have at home, adults may spot a more mature reference within the color scheme. It turns out, Greta Gerwig's inspiration for the Barbieland palette is Jacques Demy, a French film director known for colorful films such as "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and "The Young Girls of Rochefort."

"'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' ... that's an amazing movie and astonishingly beautiful," Gerwig told Letterboxd. "I loved the use of color and the surrealness." Gerwig explained that she and the director of photography were inspired by how the film layered similar colors on top of each other. "Everything feels painterly, and that was a big part of it," she said. "They're just delicious. His movies are delicious."

The Birkenstock joke is definitely one for adult viewers

After Margot Robbie's Stereotypical Barbie begins to experience unusual things (you know, like uncontrollable thoughts of death and cellulite), she is sent to "Weird Barbie," played by Kate McKinnon, to figure out what's going on. Weird Barbie explains that she'll have to go to the real world to find the person who is playing with her in order to get everything in Barbieland back to normal. She offers her either a heel or a Birkenstock as symbols: "You can go back to your regular life," she says holding up the heel, "or you can know the truth about the universe," she says, offering up the Birkenstock. 

This joke will probably go over most kids' heads — for one thing, only adults really know the difference between heels and Birkenstocks. While heels may look nice, they are anything but comfortable, but a nice comfy pair of Birkenstocks will almost always be the sensible option. Plus, this scene is actually yet another reference — this time to the film "The Matrix" in which Neo is given a choice between the blue pill, which will take him back to his version of reality, or the red pill, which will show him the whole truth. Sound familiar?

Barbie's journey to the real world is a nod to The Wizard of Oz

As Barbie sets off for the real world, there's yet another hidden film reference. You may have spotted that she leaves driving on a bright pink road? Well, this is a direct reference to the Yellow Brick Road in "The Wizard of Oz." "In our movie, we have the Pink Brick Road instead of the Yellow Brick Road," director Greta Gerwig told Letterboxd. "We also have beautiful painted backdrops of horizons. We executed it like they would've done in the '30s and '40s and '50s soundstage musicals. It was something that we kept returning to. I always love the ending where there's a ceremonial quality."

But the aesthetics aren't the only nod to "The Wizard of Oz" — Barbie's journey also mirrors that of Dorothy in the 1939 film. After all, Dorothy travels down the Yellow Brick Road to discover the truth about the Man Behind the Curtain and find her way back home. Similarly, Barbie travels down the Pink Brick Road, to discover the truth about the men at Mattel (and, by extension, the entire patriarchy) and she too finds her way back home.

There is also a reference to the old Bratz dolls in Barbie

Young kids may not remember the iconic original Bratz dolls — after all, they were first released in 2001. However, adults probably remember the famous foursome all too well: Sasha, Yasmin, Jade, and Cloe. As one eagle-eyed viewer noted, Barbie meets four high schoolers upon arriving in the real world — and one of them is called Sasha. "I don't know if people caught this reference in the 'Barbie' movie, but there was a reference to Bratz dolls," said Jessica Weslie on TikTok, noting that the four girls even looked like the Bratz dolls. While the other three girls weren't given official character names, this theory is certainly a good one. After all, these four were pretty bratty! 

As Teen Vogue also noted, Sasha's mom, Gloria (played by America Ferrera) even calls her daughter "Bunny Boo," which is the name of Sasha-the-doll's pet rabbit. Coincidence? We think not. 

There are quite a few adult jokes in the film

There are plenty of lines in "Barbie" that aren't exactly appropriate for kids. While many kids might see the film, for instance, they probably won't catch the meaning behind phrases like "beach you off" and they certainly won't get the humor behind the Growing up Skipper doll, whose breasts grow at the pull of a string.

In fact, there are so many adult jokes in "Barbie" that one viewer was downright shocked. "I wanna talk about 'Barbie.'" said Matthew Belloni on "The Town" podcast after he saw the film. "I was struck by how Mattel allowed this to happen. It is taking the Barbie IP and just running with it ... I mean, there is an F-bomb in the movie. Someone says 'Motherf***er.' It's bleeped ... But, there are boob jokes. There's a joke about the creator of Mattel having tax evasion problems" (via The Direct).   

As a few children interviewed by The Guardian said: "It was fun the whole way through. Although, sometimes everyone was laughing and we didn't know why." Yep, that would be all of the adult jokes.

When depressed Barbie watches Pride and Prejudice, many adults will relate

Okay, some adults may not even get this very, very niche reference. During a hilarious fake ad campaign for "Depression Barbie," the voiceover states happily: "She wears sweatpants all day and night and she spent seven hours today on Instagram looking at her estranged best friend's engagement photos while eating a family-sized bag of Starburst, and now her jaw's killing her. And she's going to watch the BBC's 'Pride and Prejudice' for the seventh time until she falls asleep" (via Twitter). We can safely say that no kids have ever felt the urge to rewatch Colin Firth's iconic performance as Mr. Darcy — but more than a few adults certainly have.

"I knew I wasn't the only one for whom that #DepressionBarbie commercial hit hard," wrote one fan on Twitter. "She's an inescapable millennial archetype. Doomscrolling IG while watching BBC's Pride & Prejudice miniseries? Hard. Facts."

Mattel's headquarters is pretty hilarious for anyone who has ever been in an office

When Barbie finally arrives in the real world, she soon finds herself at Mattel's headquarters, where the C-suite is trying to contain her to avoid any trouble — after all, Barbieland and the real world aren't exactly meant to mix. While Will Ferrell's over-the-top acting as the CEO of Mattel will be pretty delightful for most children, there are plenty of little details in the office that are meant for adult viewers. For one thing, the entire C-suite is made up of men because, well, of course, it is. Don't worry, there was one female CEO once, Ferrell's character assures us.

Plus, the lower floors of the building contain some of the most depressing cubicles we've ever seen. Honestly, it looks like something out of a horror movie. And for anyone who has ever stepped foot in an office building, the sense of doom and ennui will be all too familiar.

Of course, Mattel isn't exactly a realistic office space. "I appreciated the way the film gently caricatured Mattel and their iron-fist insistence on keeping Barbie in her box," wrote one viewer and Barbie fan for The Guardian. "That said, I felt the boardroom scenes could have been more depressingly realistic. In life, a platoon of men still tend to make decisions that affect women."

The joke about Sugar Daddy Ken may go over some young viewers' heads

In "Barbie," director and writer Greta Gerwig paid homage to a few discontinued dolls from Mattel's range, including Midge, the pregnant doll, Growing up Skipper, the breast-growing Barbie, and, perhaps most shockingly, Sugar's Daddy Ken. Yep, that was a real doll back in the early 2000s. Of course, the doll's name is a play on words — it's not quite "Sugar Daddy Ken." Instead, the doll is the daddy of Sugar the dog. However, based on the design of the doll, it may as well be a sugar daddy! According to Glamour, the doll was discontinued in 2012.

The doll was played very briefly by actor Rob Brydon in the film. "Had a great time at the Barbie premiere celebrating my pivotal role as Sugar Daddy Ken," Brydon tweeted. "When you go to see this amazing film please don't blink."

Ryan Gosling's I'm Just Ken musical number is a minefield of references and jokes

One of the highlights of "Barbie" for adults and children alike is the epic musical number. Sung by Ryan Gosling, "I'm Just Ken" is an indisputable banger. Plus, the dreamlike staging of the number makes it a huge crowd-pleaser. But while children will love this colorful musical interlude, they may not pick up on all of the little jokes and references within.

For one thing, the song itself features a few clever musical references. For instance, there's a riff on A-ha's "Take on Me." Talk about an '80s power ballad.

As for the choreography, there are references to the T-Birds of "Grease," the dance fight of "West Side Story," and even to the dream ballets of films like "Oklahoma!" and "An American in Paris." While this may look like a scene out of a children's movie, only adults will really get all of the little references.

The joke about The Godfather is one that only adults will get

There's one joke in "Barbie" that is sure to get almost all of the adults in the cinema laughing — when the Barbies are plotting how to distract the Kens by conforming to what they expect the Barbies to be (you know, simpering, naive girls who need the help of a man) they list asking, "Oh, are you watching The Godfather," as one way to get their Kens mansplaining so hard they are too distracted to notice the Barbies taking back Barbieland.

It's a hilarious line that speaks to the male obsession with "The Godfather" — and with talking their way through films as they mansplain each scene to whichever females may be present in the room. 

As Meg Ryan's character Kathleen Kelly says in "You've Got Mail," "What is it with men and 'The Godfather?'" Greta Gerwig clearly doesn't know either!

The film deals with the complexities of the patriarchy

While kids are sure to understand the basic plot of "Barbie" — Barbie goes to the real world to meet the person who is playing with her and then restores order in Barbieland — they may not understand the nuances. After all, the real villain of this movie isn't Mattel or Ken — it's the patriarchy. After discovering that men essentially rule the real world, Ken returns to Barbieland where the gender power dynamic is flipped to take over from the Barbies. He takes ownership of Barbie's Dream House, turning it into his "Mojo Dojo Casa House." He and the Kens even introduce a bill that will see the Barbies lose their power in the Supreme Court. 

The Barbies go on to play on the Kens' masculine insecurities to take back Barbieland. However, after realizing how awful it is to have no power, they decide to let the Kens have some power — but not as much as women have in the real world. It's pretty complex stuff and we're guessing that only adults will really understand all of the complexities.

The soundtrack is full of clever references to classic songs

From Lizzo's "Pink" to Dua Lipa's "Dance the Night," the soundtrack to "Barbie" is full of absolute bangers. What some younger people may not notice is that many of these songs include nostalgic references to older songs. Lizzo's "Pink" starts things off, introducing us to a day-in-the-life of "Barbie." According to Off The Record Press, it's a musical nod to other famous film opening numbers like The Muffs' "Kids In America" from "Clueless" and Hoku's "Perfect Day" from "Legally Blonde."

The soundtrack also features "Barbie World," sung by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice — listen closely and you'll notice a sample from the famous "Barbie Girl" by Aqua. Then, Charlie XCX's "Speed Drive" includes a musical nod to Baby Tate's "Hey, Mickey!," which famously featured in "Bring It On." In the final song on the soundtrack, "Barbie Dreams," there's yet another subtle sample — listen closely and you'll hear that the chorus is the same tune as Janet Jackson's "Together Again."

This soundtrack is packed full of musical references to some golden oldies — and adults will love it.

The final line of Barbie is yet another reference for adults

If you're still not convinced that "Barbie" is really a movie for the grown-ups in the room, the final line will definitely convince you. After becoming a real woman and leaving Barbieland behind, Stereotypical Barbie is dropped off for an important meeting by Gloria and her family. Where is she going? A job interview? University? Nope, it turns out, Barbie is heading to her first meeting with her gynecologist. As she says proudly to the receptionist in her final line, "I'm here to see my gynecologist."

As director Greta Gerwig explained to USA Today, the line is all about Barbie becoming a woman. "I knew I wanted to end on a mic drop kind of joke, but I also find it very emotional," she said. "When I was a teenage girl, I remember growing up and being embarrassed about my body, and just feeling ashamed in a way that I couldn't even describe." However, by giving Barbie a sense of pride about her new, very real body, Gerwig wanted to end on a note that was both funny and empowering. "I was like — if I can give girls that feeling of, 'Barbie does it, too' — that's both funny and emotional," she said. "There are so many things like that throughout the movie. It was always about looking for the levity and the heart."