There’s a wild energy to such a film as Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar.
Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021) Review By Mark McPherson
Published on July 28, 2021
Rating 4 /5
There’s a wild energy to such a film as Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. The very premise is hilarious in how unpredictable it sounds with such absurdity. Merely describing it would likely result in somebody doubting such a picture exists and that a joke is being played on them. I’ll prefer this review by stating that if you want to be in for a great surprise, you only need to know that this movie is ridiculously funny. If you don’t want spoilers, turn back now.
Anyway, the titular duo of Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) are two middle-aged Midwest women who are a wholesome pair of well-meaning morons. They obsess over each other in their wild perms and unbecoming culottes. After being reprimanded at work and being kicked out of their Talking Club, they figure a change of scenery is in order. They decide to take off for Florida to get away from it all with a vacation in Vista Del Mar.
At the same time (and stick with me on this) there’s an evil white-faced genius of Sharon Fisherman (also Kristen Wiig) who has plans to destroy Vista Del Mar. Having been scorned her whole life for being different, the tipping point for her was when visiting Vista Del Mar and she was mockingly titled the queen of a shrimp festival and then inexplicably shot naked out of a cannon. Now she aims to make that festival pay by sicking a horde of killer mosquitos on the community via her submarine, system of spies, and a little boy she has kidnapped.
Working for Sharon is the hunky Edgar (Jamie Dornan), a man who is hoping that his allegiance will earn him the romantic favor of his boss. He’ll instead find himself more attracted to the more affectionate Barb and Star who take pleasure in partying with a guy who could really use some love and, honestly, shouldn’t have that much trouble for rippling a man as he appears. They have a wild night together and an awkward love triangle forms that brings the friendship of the two women into question.
That’s just the short version of what happens in the film. Everything else in between is so ridiculously over-the-top that it’s hard to explain just how hilarious it all appears. Consider the
scene where Star feels at a low point and could really use some advice about how to handle her love for Edgar and her friendship with Barb. That advice comes from a talking crab who randomly shows up on the beach and prefers to be addressed as Morgan Freemand. After giving the valuable advice, the crab then lists off Morgan Freeman’s filmography before narrating his way out to see where he will die.
And that’s just par for the course of the silliness. Numerous musical numbers crop up about hotel services and running on the beach, complete with strange transitions about seagulls. A
piano player keeps popping up where the only songs he can muster are ones about breasts and dead friends he knows from high school. There’s also a water spirit concocted by the duo who goes by the name Trish who arrives just in time to save the day. Barb also meets a mysterious figure who identifies as Tommy Bahama and imparts her fortune.
There’s just so much absurd stuff going on in Barb and Star that it’s nearly impossible not to laugh at something. The mounting comical outbursts and Midwest meanderings of Mumolo and Wiig are hilarious and it’s no surprise that both of them penned such a script. Director Josh Greenbaum finds just the right mixture of giddy amusement to make the picture as hilarious as it is heartfelt. It’s just a brilliant comedy that finds so many funny areas to explore and rarely relents to such lackluster and tired tropes of the genre. Barb & Star go quite far in this farce.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.