From: Silver Screen

‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’ is eccentric, loud and absolutely absurd

‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’ is eccentric, loud and absolutely absurd
Kristin Wiig (left) as 'Star' and Annin Mumolo (right) as 'Barb' in their campy new comedy "Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar."

Correction: This article has been updated since it was first published to correct that the release date is Feb. 12, not Feb. 13.

“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is bright, tropical and often downright outrageous, relying on bizzare and sometimes banal humor to entertain. Starring and written by Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo, it marks a mediocre comeback following the success of their first collaboration, “Bridesmaids.” 

The film follows two women, Star (Wiig) and Barb (Mumolo), as they attempt to reconnect with their inner “shimmer” through an impromptu visit to Vista Del Mar, Florida. Perhaps drawing inspiration from the “Austin Powers” franchise, the film’s antagonist, Sharon Gordon Fisherman, is also played by Wiig. Sharon’s subplot is relatively detached from the plights of Star and Barb. Rather predictably, the plots collide once Sharon’s employee Edgar (Jamie Dornan) begins a romantic relationship with Star.

Prior to becoming involved with Star, Edgar had long-held feelings for Sharon. He spends the beginning of the film repeating his desire to become an ‘official couple’ with her; his redundant use of this phrase is probably one of the most humorous aspects of the script. While it is quite a departure from his previous work, Dornan proves to be a strong comedic performer.

No matter where they go, Star and Barb feel strangely anachronistic in their space. The film uses dialogue and dynamics to set them apart from their social environment, making it clear that they don’t blend in with others when placed in groups of people. While they can converse with each other for hours on end, they tend to seem wildly disconnected from the community that exists outside of their friendship. This choice creates an atmosphere for awkwardness, and almost any interaction with others is comedic to some degree. 

Apart from Wiig and Mumolo, the film is composed of a star-studded cast of female comedians, including Vanessa Bayer, Rose Abdoo, Phyllis Smith and Wendi McLendon-Covey in minor roles. While their appearances are brief, and could have been expanded upon, they are certainly enjoyable. 

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“Barb and Star” will resonate best with an audience that enjoys odd-ball, over-the-top comedy. While quirky one-liners make up most of the script, there are also a few fully-staged musical numbers. They begin spontaneously, dramatically evolving in the style of MTV music videos. Even with the music specifically written for the movie, I believe that the best musical choice was utilizing a “My Heart Will Go On” dance remix during a clubbing scene. 

Overall, the film’s greatest asset is it’s campy quality. Exaggerated scene transitions, bright color schemes and formulaic comedy make it appeal to a wide audience. And after the year we’ve had, absurd humor is something we all could use a little more of.  

“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is set to release on streaming platforms Feb. 12.

okozlevcar@theeagleonline.com


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