Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

When you watch Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, a new buddy comedy written and starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, you start associating other movies with it.  “This is Kristen Wiig’s Austin Powers”,  “This is Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s take on A Night at the Roxbury”,  “In fact, this is the best Saturday Night Live movie that never was an SNL skit in the first place!”.  The viewer does this because they’re so desperate to define and relate this comedy to something they’ve seen before.  When truthfully, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is unlike any comedy we’ve seen before. 

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a bizarre and silly, laugh-a-minute lark that’s beaming with ambition through its florescent enthusiasm.  This is the type of comedy where if a character talks to a crab, you damn well can expect that crab will talk back and, perhaps, perform a monologue.  The humour is random, but fits in with the film’s happy-go-lucky attitude towards its theme of friendship and how a really good connection can be the ultimate distraction and can persevere through anything.  And yes, that includes an evil plot to get rid of the locals of a travel destination with killer mosquitos.

The two friends who get caught up in the plot are the titular middle-aged besties (played by Wiig and Mumolo) who decide to break out of their shell by going on a luscious and extravagant trip to Florida’s tropical getaway Vista Del Mar.  Before they even get to the beach, they get wrapped up in a musical number about their swanky hotel (they don’t actually have a vacancy for), and meet hunky vacationer Edgar Pagét (Jamie Dornan of the Fifty Shades of Grey series).  Little do they know of Edgar’s participation in the evil plot against Vista Del Mar, carried out by mastermind Ms. Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig).

While most of the film’s compatibility rides off of the fun chemistry of Wiig and Mumolo’s lead performances, the audacity behind Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’s absurdist humour is what keeps reeling the viewer in.  The film’s rapid-fire randomness won’t be everyone’s bowl of hot dog soup, but the way the production commits to its off-beat jokes is nothing short of amazing.  It’s the way the production has filled the swanky yet tacky destination with so much fantastic detail, it’s the way actors deliver and react to each other, it’s the way the film recognizes how each comedic set-up has potential no matter how much of a throwaway joke it may be on paper.  There’s a large amount of consideration behind this movie that shouldn’t go unrecognized.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar probably couldn’t have been made if it hadn’t had so much clout backing it up (being the follow-up collaboration of the Oscar-nominated duo of Wiig and Mumolo riding the success of Bridesmaids, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay co-producing), but the film never slums it by letting high-profile statuses do its walking and talking.  I doubt I’ll see a funnier comedy this year than Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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