As we are shacked up in month whatever of a global pandemic, the cold, stark wind blowing outside, turning to a film where travelling and sunny days is the main focus seems a bit of a hardship.
Yet the comedy duo of Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo, who gifted us Bridesmaids, is such a wild riot that we’ll forgive them for making us long for holidays once more. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a silly anecdote for whatever glum feelings you have.
Wiig and Mumolo play the title characters; two hapless best friends who live, work, and socialise together. When they are fired and kicked out of their talking group, the pair decide to jet off to the titular seaside destination to relax and regroup and find themselves again. Once there, they find their loyalties to one another tested when they meet the gorgeous Edgar. However, it becomes apparent soon enough that Edgar is part of a nefarious plot to destroy Vista Del Mar. Can Barb and Star save the day and save their friendship?
Writing partners Wiig and Mumolo are the heart, soul, and brains behind this ferociously amusing comedy. This film works, not just because some of the jokes are funny, but the duo are so succinct in fleshing out their characters. There is a wealth of empathy here and the chemistry Mumolo and Wiig have is unparalleled. The fire off one another gloriously but even apart, they manage to charm the audience, whether that’s Star’s dalliance with the rugged Edgar or Mumolo’s hippy journey of self-discover. That’s due to the detailed and stunning writing that makes these comical characters feel tangible.
Kristen Wiig also plays Sharon Gordon Fisherman, a pale, square haired women who is essentially a defunct villainous role. There is enough drama with Barb and Star that throwing in this dastardly women and her viscous deeds feels superfluous. That said, more Kirsten Wiig is never a truly bad thing and we get some brilliant quips and looks that showcase just how genius Wiig is in her comedic realm.
Sure, Jamie Dornan getting to stretch his comedic jobs is genius. Seeing him climb a palm tree like a cat (who decided to climb a palm tree,) or riving in the beach a la Troy Bolton is a brilliant showcase for how fucking funny the Irish actor can be. But he is no scene stealer, Mumolo and Wiig hold their own as these empathic yet hilarious characters.
What Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar will do is make you miss the cinema. This movie’s spirit belongs in the annuls of the big screen. It needs to be seen in a dark room with a large group of people and an extravagant cocktail in each hand. The laughter needs to ripple throughout the darkness. Hopefully, post all of this, Barb and Star will moor in some indie-cinemas for themed screenings and late night quote-alongs.
Alas, on streaming, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar will polarise people and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is all about being in tune with the hilarity on the screen. If you like its particular breed of comedy, you’ll find it a laugh riot. If not, it will grate on you until you hate it. There are hit or miss jokes here but the hilarity comes so thick and fast that any forgettable jokes are replaced by memorable, quotable ones. It has remnants of recent absurd gem Greener Grass whilst still staying grounded on mainstream land.
Still, this camp and silly treat so put on your best culottes, grab a frozen margarita, and visit the Vista Del Mar with Barb and Star!
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is available to rent on VOD now!