Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, the duo who wrote the runaway hit Bridesmaids, are back at it again, cracking us up with a less raunchy but no less funny comedy about women in the prime of their life.

Okay, maybe not quite prime, but if they’re no longer bridesmaids, they’re not quite old maids. They’re single (divorced/widowed) and ready to mingle. Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) do everything together these days: they live together, work together, and go to Talking Club together. Rather awkwardly, Talking Club’s topic of the day is ‘jobs’ and Barb and Star have just been fired. Not even their famous hot dog soup can soothe these wounds. Listless, they take a cue from an acquaintance who’s just returned from a vacation she describes as a “douche for the soul.” Inspired, Barb and Star pack a whole range of culottes and some other essential items and head for that special section of Florida where luxury meets coconuts.

Barb and Star are about to have the vacation of their lives, and not just because it’s the first time they’ve ever left Nebraska. An evil villain named Sharon (also Wiig), an evil paperboy named Yoyo (Reyn Doi), and evil minion Edgar (Jamie Dornan) are plotting, well, evil, and its epicentre is Vista Del Mar! Luckily or unluckily, henchman Edgar just happens to be hunky, and Barb and Star have been starved for some luvin. Boy does this complicate their vacation! Barb’s lying to Star, Star’s sucking face with Edgar, they’re all dancing to a Celine Dion Titanic remix, and a soul douche is about to become a very wild ride!

The plot manages to make some sense despite being wildly absurd, but mostly you’re watching because Barb and Star are just so darn charming. Mumolo and Wiig still got it going on. I worried that these characters might seem like something better suited to an SNL sketch, but I didn’t need the trappings of the film, I would have been happy just spending time with the Talking Club. Although Barb and Star are caricatures, they’re made up of so many clever little details you won’t fail to find something familiar about them. They’re over the top but never annoying and never too much.

Production design, art direction, and costumes all come together in a wacky, tacky riot of pastel kitsch – and did I mention the random musical numbers? Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar is unapologetically and exuberantly silly, fully committed to the twin performances by hilarious comediennes Mumolo and Wiig, and pretty much the perfect comedy and it has been a long while since I said that about anything. We’re all in need of a little escapism right now and this movie is a glossy brochure for a middle aged vacationer’s delight – it smells like Red Lobster and looks like a Metamucil-yogurt commercial. What more could you possibly want?

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