Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is an extremely campy comedy that plays like an overlong skit on Saturday Night Live. It stars SNL alum Kristen Wiig (Wonder Woman 1984), and Annie Mumolo as longtime friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when their dream jobs at Jennifer Convertibles go belly-up. They decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever, to “find their shimmer” at a cheesy resort in (fictional) Vista Del Mar, Florida – a hot spot for singles in their “middle years.” There they meet the hunky sad sack Edgar Pagét (Jamie Dornan, Wild Mountain Thyme, Synchronic, Fifty Shades), who’s been sent by an evil villainess to unleash killer mosquitos on Vista Del Mar, as part of a nonsensical revenge plot. Did I mention this movie is really quite silly? I’d venture to call it silly bordering on stupid, if not for the flashes of funny and splashes of heart that offer escapist redemption.
While an oddly cast Dornan breaks into song on the beach and gets his groove on with Star (and vice versa), the central theme of the movie is female friendship. This is a gal pal adventure that will most likely appeal to those who drank up the 2019 Netflix movie Wine Country or 2017’s Girls Trip. Just keep your expectations in check. This doesn’t come close to the level of Bridesmaids – which Wiig and Mumolo co-wrote. Barb and Star is really just Wiig and Mumolo bringing to life a couple of characters from their improv days and setting them adrift in a sea of cinematic cliches, replete with oddball cameos and sage advice from a talking crab named “Morgan Freedman”. It also has a fun soundtrack, and a tongue-in-cheek campaign to secure a best original song nomination for “I Love Boobies.” (see brief clip below the trailer)
Bottom line: Sometimes it works. And sometimes it doesn’t. Fortunately, the movie never tries to take itself seriously other than to espouse the value of friendship. If you can embrace the silly and the stupid with the humor and the heart, then you might survive the trip and bring home a few laughs.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar will be available to rent on various On Demand services starting Feb. 12. To get your full money’s worth, stick around through the end credits.