Friendship is the ultimate adventure…
While it’s admittedly a little uneven at times, Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar has more than enough scene stealing performances to make for a fun night (at home) but at the movies.
After losing their jobs, lifelong friends Barb and Star (Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo) decide that they need a change and embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time … ever.
Going for gonzo rather than the somewhat grounded comedy like we got used to in Bridesmaids; Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar is 100% off the wall from this comedy duo. While all the bits don’t necessarily land, more than enough does thanks to a very inspired performance from somewhere you wouldn’t initially expect and if you just allow yourself ride the wave of silliness that is this film, you’re in for a hell of a ride.
Director Josh Greenbaum is a solid enough hand when it comes to comedy and allows the script from Wiig and Mumolo to pop from the opening bell. It’s not rocket science but he stages it all well and gives it all a solid through line even when the bits get a little gaggy and staged.
Wiig and Mumolo treat it all as a piece of fantasy comedy allowing the situations to veer into territory that is almost equivalent to a spoof. When you really look at it, Wiig and Mumolo are spoofing the ‘middle aged woman’ getting her groove back sub-genre of the rom-com and marrying it with some Austin Powers spy/action movie nonsense. It doesn’t always work…but when it does you’ll be rolling on the floor with tears of laughter rolling down your face thanks to the performance you probably never expected.
As fun as Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo are here as our title heroes it’s Jamie Dornan as our doe faced male love interest Edgar Paget who is torn between his new friends in Barb & Star and his love for our villain Sharon Gordon Fisherman who is hell bent on revenge against the “mythical” land of Vista Del Mar (played by Wiig in a duel role). Dornan goes hell bent leaning into the gonzo nature of the material and he knocks it so far out of the park that it’s going to be going long after the credits roll here.
There’s an interesting cast of supporting players in all of this and while you expect Wiig and Mumolo to embrace the material like they do (after all they WROTE it) Dornan is actually the lynch pin in this delightfully over the top comedy which isn’t afraid to lean into being gloriously silly.
At the end of the day, Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar isn’t a perfect film, but if you’re compelled to pour yourself a cocktail (or something stronger) you can let yourself go and have some real fun with something that might end up working its way into the pantheon of “midnight movie” entertainment.