Travis Leamons // Film Critic
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR
OK. I avoided the initial marketing push for BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR. But when the staff at Fresh Fiction started commenting about it on social media, I had to see what all the buzz was about. So glad I heeded their reactions.
Barb and Star are Thelma and Louise if T&L wore culottes, worked at a furniture store, and had a certain shimmer that is tough to describe in words, but you know it when you see it.
The gals that brought us BRIDESMAIDS ten years ago – geez, has it been that long already? – Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo are back in this very colorful comedy about a pair of life-long friends who are apprehensive about leaving the confines of their small Midwestern town for the first time. Looking to try new things, they book a trip to Vista Del Mar. Just what these gals need: a little sun, a little romance, and a villain plotting to wipe their vacation destination off the map.
A wacky comedy in the best possible sense, BARB AND STAR wears its influences proudly. From ZAZ comedies like TOP SECRET! and THE NAKED GUN to THE MUPPETS with a Dr. Evil-type antagonist going to absurd lengths to eradicate the populace of Vista Del Mar, this movie is a hoot and is very deserving of cult status.
Kristen Wiig plays both Star and the pale-skinned villainess Sharon Gordon Fisherman. Annie Mumolo co-stars as Barb, and together they allow their midwestern eccentricities to run amok. Frumpy with ostentatious clothing and accessories, Barb and Star are live-action Chatty Cathys without the need for a pull string. The only one who can make them close their traps long enough is a man with a proclivity for women older than him.
Yes, “Mr. Grey will see you now” is the object of desire. As Sharon’s henchman Edgar, the two ladies are clueless about his role in eliminating the town’s denizens. But Edgar isn’t a bad man. He wants to be loved. Drowning his sorrows in a lavish hotel bar, Edgar’s spirits are lifted thanks to Barb, Star, and a night heavy on libations and bedroom escapades. A life-long friendship becomes tested in a three’s company arrangement. Always together and now drifting apart, Barb becomes more adventurous out on her own while Star continues to see Edgar in secret.
At its heart, BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR is a coming-of-age story about middle-aged women. It had me cackling more than I anticipated, and its themes of being loved and wanting friends are just what we need right now. Less me-time and more giving time to others. Sprinkle in some elaborate sets, musical numbers, a mermaid, and Damon Wayans Jr. as an inept covert agent, and you got yourself a comedy that goes for broke.
Grab your BFF, pull up a chair (or talking couch), a can of Pringles, and enjoy.
The Blu-ray comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary with director Josh Greenbaum, Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
- Barb & Star: Making Life a Little Brighter – A short EPK about the production with Wiig, Mumolo, and the crew.
- Barb & Star: Casting in Paradise – A casting featurette.
- Deleted Scenes
- Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar Fashion Show – The comedy’s “Talking Club” model tropical fashions.
I’ll go out on a limb and say I won’t see a funnier comedy than BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR the rest of 2021. I hope it develops such a strong following we get more Barb and Star adventures. We need a Barb and Star Buy a Used Car road-trip comedy.