Review: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
February 22, 2021
With frigid temperatures and boatloads of snow unlike any we’ve seen for years forcing us inside, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar reminds us that warmer days are on their way. Simultaneously funny and surreal, the film is sure to satisfy many viewers’ likings. And yet, I ultimately remain displeased.
Released Feb. 12, Barb and Star focuses on the tropical adventures of two lifelong soulmates, Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig). After losing their jobs at a furniture store, the duo uses their severance to travel to the dazzling coastal town of Vista Del Mar, where laughter, delight and romance pursue.
A simple movie, right? Well, not exactly. Upon watching amusing trailers, one sits down thinking they are about to enjoy a hilarious seaside comedy. And during the first moments of the film, that is very much true. That is, until a futuristic hidden lair and odd-looking serial killer villainess, Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig), dominate the screen.
Embarrassed about childhood events in Vista Del Mar, Fisherman devises a plot to take revenge on those in the town and enlists her associate, Edgar (Jamie Dornan), to do the dirty work. Unfortunately for her, Barb and Star unknowingly sabotage her plans.
Upon meeting Edgar, the duo immediately adores him. Soon Edgar is left to choose between his loyalty to Fisherman or his giddy newfound lovers. However, once Barb discovers Edgar’s true association, things are taken to a different level. What was once a dreamy paradise soon turns into a surprisingly humorous battle between life and death.
Initially, I found Barb and Star quite amusing and relished in its sprawling spectrum of famous movie stars. Wiig and Mumolo were enough to crack me up, but the added cameos of Andy Garcia, Vanessa Bayer and Reba McEntire made the viewing experience all the more enjoyable.
Another intriguing aspect of the film was its emphasis on color. From bright clothing to the vibrant seaside decor that appears everywhere throughout the movie, viewers will not discover any white space on Barb and Star’s vivid canvas.
But while the film’s humor, a wide range of actors and brilliant hues may be enough to satisfy some, multiple imperfections ultimately diminish others’ enticement. And, I was no exception.
With Barb and Star containing several facets of comedy, science fiction, action and even fantasy packed into one film, my mind rushed through a never-ending rollercoaster of different genres. Some might find this unique feature overwhelmingly interesting, but I just found it overwhelmingly confusing and unnecessary.
And, with has-been jokes, cringe-worthy tunes “sung” by average actors like Dornan and childish aspects like talking crabs and real-life mermaids littering the plot, the movie should certainly win the “Corniest Film of the Year” award. I almost had to walk out of the room during some parts to avoid wince attacks.
So, Barb and Star was not the best film I have seen. Sure, it did succeed in making me laugh and filling my cold, dreary winter days with some warmth and color. But would I watch it again? Probably not. It just didn’t happen to be my type of film.
However, I definitely would encourage others to give it a try. After all, what might have been ultimately cringe-worthy, puzzling and redundant to me might provide others with enough delight, entertainment and satisfaction to power them through to summer. “To each their own,” as they say.