Movie #83 2021: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

Sometimes a little nonsense is exactly what the doctor ordered, right?

From the masterminds who penned 2011 smash hit comedy Bridesmaids comes Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, and yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo team up once again here to write, produce and star in something that was clearly a passion project for them. Barb and Star are two Nebraskan BFFs and housemates who think their lives are brilliant… until they suddenly get fired from their jobs. The pair of them go on a much needed break to sunny Vista Del Mar, Florida, unaware that they are about to find themselves in the midst of a villainous plot to murder the whole town.

Fuuuuuuck my life I really wanted this to be a 5 star movie. It wasn’t quite at that level. However, it’s glaringly obvious to me that Barb and Star will become a cult movie in the years to come.

Look, I didn’t hate it. But I did expect it to be consistently laugh out loud comedy and it just… wasn’t. The first act in particular was completely dead, other than the one time Phyllis Smith made a horse noise and I physically snorted. In the second act it did pick up a bit here on the comedy front and there and some of the gags did make me chuckle. It was never the height of comedy for me, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. Mark Kermode completely slammed this film in his podcast with Simon Mayo, which leads me to believe you simply won’t ‘get it’ if you’re a day older than 35. You definitely have to be on the same level as the two leading characters and perhaps being stoned whilst watching would have its advantages. As a sober 28-year old, I found it quite hit and miss, but still find myself thinking about it a week after actually viewing it. So that’s good, at least!

Unlike most, I actually had no qualms with the ridiculous storyline for some reason?! It was bonkers and vibrant and insane and silly and I’m not mad about it. Plus Wiig doubling as the zany villain was pretty fun and those nonsense accents kept me completely entertained. Despite Wiig’s best efforts as Star, Mumolo is truly the star of this movie. (Get it? Ha ha.) Most of the laughs I did get out of this came with thanks to her. I honestly wish she was in more movies, because even her bit-part “there’s a colonial woman on the wing” scene in Bridesmaids made me laugh more than any other joke that this pair’s 2011 movie did.

There’s an incredible supporting cast, with Jamie Dornan gaining the most attention from the straight white ladies due to his ability to sing, dance, and make fun of himself. In my opinion, Reyn Doi (who makes his film debut here) was a highlight. What a delightful kid.

What I’ve noticed is that the best comedies often have the best soundtracks. In this instance, Barb and Star delivers on all fronts. Madonna and Barbra Streisand are included for one thing. Plus there are a few original songs in there that up the humour quite a bit, such as Dornan’s ode to the seagulls. (You had to be there.)

Okay, maybe there are a few quotable moments in there. There’s no doubt in my mind that this script will be repeated relentlessly by millennials in the years to come. A few of my favourites are as follows:

“I’ve never been to a turtle’s house!”
“It was Trish.”
“You know what we should wear tonight? Our evening culottes!”
“I had a dream that I made love with that man on the Pringles can.”

I am aware that none of those quotes will make an ounce of sense if you’ve not seen this movie yet, and to be honest, they make relatively little sense even when you have seen it.

As a whole, Barb and Star is all completely stupid in a good way, just not as hilarious as I wanted it to be. However, if you missed them at the Golden Globes this year, don’t miss out:

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is available to rent for £13.99 on Amazon, Sky Store, and the majority of other online rental services in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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