#REVIEW: “BARB & STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) are best friends who work and live together in their small Midwestern town. After they lose their jobs, they decide to take a beachside vacation to Vista Del Mar, Florida. There they meet the mysterious Edgar (Jamie Dornan) and all at once, their fancy getaway turns into a trip they will never forget.
Oh, and did I mention there is a young boy heading their way in a submarine housing 1000 killer mosquitos?
That is just a hint of the certifiable lunacy going on within Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar. I was not sure how Mumolo and Wiig would follow up Bridesmaids, but sincerely doubt this wild journey would have ever been a possibility. The chaotic structure of the Film should not work at all, from its stretched out prologue you will swear was ripped from another film (it isn’t) to its multiple(!) musical numbers. Somehow, it does work. And despite losing steam half way through (and overcooking a villainous plot), the pair have managed to concoct a wildly original vision that is just as hysterical as it is bewildering. How much joy you derive from the film will hinge entirely on whether you buy into how ridiculous the premise is – and your knowledge of what culottes are. If you are not on board for either of those things, you might want to vacation elsewhere.
Oh, and did I mention there’s a party sequence scored to a dance remix of “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic?
While the random cameos packed into the Film cycle between being over the top, completely nonsensical or totally wasted, Mumolo and Wiig are terrific together and more than make up for any of the Film’s shortcomings. The way they play off one another is remarkable, each bringing a unique energy to every scene they appear in. Wiig dials it up past 11 as expected – teetering on the line of comedic greatness and being a nuisance. Mumolo is the exact opposite, playing things consistent and low-key. She gets many of the Film’s best lines and delivers them with infectious glee.
The real surprise here though is Dornan. He starts the Film in a dead serious Christian Grey mold, trying his best not to break out laughing at the situation he is thrust into. After he lands in Vista Del Mar, he breaks free of his ultra dramatic shackles and goes all in on the absurdity surrounding him. He is keenly-aware of the farcical nature of the Film and makes the most of every moment in increasingly hilarious ways. His comic timing is impeccable and his singing and dancing moves are making me crack up just thinking about them. He has a whole lot of fun and quietly manages to steal the film away from just about everyone.
Oh, and did I mention there’s a wise old crab voiced by Morgan Freeman?
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar is outrageous and ridiculous. I laughed a whole lot more than I expected, but know it will not be for everyone. If you can buy into its silly premise, then you will have a blast watching Mumolo, Wiig and Dornan at his most uproarious. The Film is destined for Cult Movie status. I look forward to revisiting it with a group when we can sing, dance and act alongside it when we are finally able to go back to movie theatres.
Lionsgate Pictures release BARB & STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR on Digital and On-Demand on Friday, February 12, 2021.