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Ooh La La! Is Barbie ‘naughty’ in the 2023 movie?

Ready for a wild spin on the tale of Barbie and Ken? Greta Gerwig’s much-anticipated film “Barbie” might seem like a sweet, PG-13 stroll down memory lane, but French moviegoers are in for a cheeky surprise!

Fresh couple

Making waves across the Atlantic, the French poster of the film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling carries a provocative punch line: “Elle peut tout faire. Lui, c’est juste Ken.” For those of us without a command of French, this innocuously translates to “She can do everything. He’s just Ken.”

However, it appears to be more than meets the eye, or in this case, what hits the ear. According to The Hollywood Reporter, there’s a naughtier interpretation up for grabs! Here’s where the fun begins. The phrase “Ken” in French slang is a stand-in for a less family-friendly F-word.

Cue the gasps and chuckles! This bold tagline has since sparked quite the stir, leaving many French speakers initially thinking it’s a case of awkward translation. However, given the strategic differences between the English and French taglines, The Hollywood Reporter suggests it’s likely to be a clever play on words.

Hush and blush

The original English tagline, “Barbie is everything. He’s just Ken,” underwent a subtle shift in the French version. Instead of a straight-up translation, the French poster opted for “Barbie can do anything,” a phrase that deliciously teases the second part of the tagline carrying the racy connotations. 

According to a French marketing executive, it would be impossible for a French speaker to miss this naughty pun, and it’s nothing short of ingenious.

Intrigue surrounds this edgy move as Warner Brothers Discovery and Mattel have remained mum about whether the saucy double entendre was intentional. The film, based on a children’s toy, flirting with an adult joke might seem a tad bold, but it’s an interesting nod to Barbie’s origins. The doll was initially inspired by Lilli, a plastic adult novelty doll based on a German comic character, who was a high-end sex worker.

The makeover

With this PG-13 comedy gaining R-rated whispers, the film’s French marketing campaign has managed to stoke the fire of anticipation. From heated debates to viral tweets, the public’s fascination with this cryptic Barbie makeover is growing by the day.

Was it a mischievous marketing ploy or just a cheeky twist of translation? One thing’s for sure: the soon-to-be-released “Barbie” film has already grabbed our attention with its unconventional charm. As we all eagerly wait for the film’s release on July 21, the big question remains: What other surprises does this film have up its sleeve?


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