In Brief: A totally dumb comedy that somehow manages to work. Credit Bridesmaids writers and best friends, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo wrote Bridesmaids in 2011. It’s now a cult favorite and is the film that introduced to Melissa McCarthy. It ultimately made her a star. For that we owe Wiig and Mumolo thanks.
Their movie wasn’t bad either.
That isn’t the case with Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. The two actresses play best buds who live in Soft Rock, Nebraska. They are mid-lifers whose boring lives consist of work where they talk a lot, their home where they talk a lot, and a talking club where the evening is spent with equally boring ladies talking about the topic of the night and eating hot dog soup.
They feel like middle age has taken their shimmer.
Then Barb and Star get laid off from their job at a furniture store. That leads to a whim that leads them to a swank vacation at a resort at Vista Del Mar in Florida. A funny aside is where the film is done. It is shot in other locales. Only after they got into the process did they learn there really is a Vista Del Mar.
Anyway, Vista Del Mar is where they encounter Edgar. He is there to kill everyone in town because his lady love is rich, psychotic and evil, and has a beef against the city.
Her answer is to kill everyone there with poison mosquitos.
Part of the movie’s charm is how Wiig and Mumolo play the characters. These are ladies they’ve done privately while writing together and in an improv group they belonged to eons ago. They’ve perfected the characters and — irritating as they are — you can’t help but like them.
Wiig also plays the movie’s villain who suffers from pigmentatia degenera hysterica whiteskinaka. That alone shows you much of the type of humor found in the movie. Painted in pasty white makeup and an all-white costume, Wiig is a delight. She has an absolute blast doing the villain.
Helping things along is Jaime Dornan of Fifty Shades fame. He handles the love interest role. Dornan seems to be having a lot more fun than he had in the three soft-core porn flicks that put him on the movie star map.
As for the movie, it’s a mindless premise that is totally dumb in way-too-many places. Included in the plot is tuneless music with flavorless lyrics. The songs are bad with a capital B. Music and lyrics go from a lounge singer obsessed with breasts to seagulls and trees to advice from crabs on love.
None of it should have been funny. So why did I find myself laughing? That is a question I can’t answer. All I can say is this — in spots, Barb and Star is quite funny. Silly funny but funny nonetheless. For some reason, Wiig and Mumolo are able to pull it off.
I suppose familiarity with characters they’ve been doing privately for years helped. The two actresses were completely comfortable in their roles and it is obvious they’re having a blast.
Back to why I liked the movie? Maybe it’s because I’m bored with COVID, or bored out of my skull watching TV, or maybe it’s because I’m unable to do anything other than stay home or go to my office. So a movie about two bored ladies finally having the time of their lives just seems to fit my life today.
It might fit yours, too.
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Stars: Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig, Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades, Damon Wayans, Reyn Doi
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. Funny in spots. Laugh out loud in spots. But it’s a really dumb movie. Why does it work? No clue but it just does. Barb and Star get four stars. Give it a 4 out of 5 on my 0 to 5 scale.
You can see Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar on pay-per-view on a number of sites.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.