"Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar" stars Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan, and Damon Wayans Jr. Released on February 12, 2021, the film has two best friends embarking on an adventure during their vacation.
The film was directed by Josh Greenbaum, who is known for helming several documentaries like "The Short Game" and "Becoming Bond". In times like this, we could all use a break from the harsh world of reality and stupidity. Luckily for us, this weekend has the one thing we need to get the vacation we deserve, and that's seeing two ladies going on holiday themselves. This latest comedy sees Kristen Wiig re-teaming with her "Bridesmaids" co-star Annie Mumolo after making her villainous debut as Cheetah in "Wonder Woman 1984". I guess you can say that she's taking a vacation from wearing all of that cat makeup. When I first discovered this movie, I honestly thought it was based on a television series that I didn't know existed. But after looking at it a bit more, I immediately realized that it's an original project. Please don't ask me why I thought of that in the first place. I was a naive young man. Similar to what happened with "Antebellum", the film was initially set for a theatrical release. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its distributor, Lionsgate, decided to forgo that strategy and instead debut it on premium video-on-demand just in time for Valentine's Day weekend. Nothing spreads love more than relaxing on a white, sandy beach. Is it a vacation that's worth taking? Let's find out.
The story follows Star (Wiig) and Barb (Mumolo), two best friends who live in a quiet and small Midwestern town. One day, they decided to leave their hometown for the first time and go on vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida. What seems to be a relaxing week underneath the sun turns out to be an adventure filled with silliness and love. When they discover a villain's plot to annihilate everyone in town with mosquitos, Barb and Star will have to put their vacation on hold and save the day. There's nothing wrong with releasing a silly film during a month filled with some big-time Oscar contenders. It's a matter of finding the proper balance between story and comedy that determines the film's existence. It can have plenty of nonsensical gags that you would see in a cartoon, but it also needs to have a substance worthy of the audience's time and money. I should know because I paid 20 dollars to watch it at home. Fortunately, the film managed to have just that. Sure, the plot had plenty of predictable elements and a cliched, yet amusing, antagonist, but when it comes to everything else that the film offered, that hardly even matters. The film's comedy style mostly had the same genes as some of the other goofy comedies from the past, like the "Anchorman" films and "Zoolander". It also contained the same charismatic spark as the one from the "Bill & Ted" films, which also featured two best friends encountering far-fetched scenarios. Yes, you read that right. I compared "Barb & Star" to "Bill & Ted", and I'm not ashamed of putting that thought down in my review. The film featured a few sequences that were either completely random or just straight-up absurd, including Jamie Dornan's musical number and a talking crab. The big question is, were those sequences also hilarious? Yes, they were. This film wasn't afraid to embrace its scenarios' silliness and not be embarrassed by them. Watching every piece of humor that appeared in the movie was similar to watching a Looney Tunes cartoon. Most of the scenarios were ridiculous to believe, but I couldn't help but laugh myself silly at them. There were also plenty of charm to be found in the story and the main characters Star and Barb. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo were both as delightful and funny as they have any right to be. Their characters were likable, energetic, and full of personality. Plus, they happen to talk a lot during a few scenes, which can be a bit irritating for some viewers. However, the chemistry between the main actors was entertaining enough for me to listen to their humorous conversations. It reminded me of the friendship between my mother and her friend. They like to have long, engaging conversations every time my mom visits her. I occasionally tag along to listen to them talking their butts off for minutes, and it's something that I will never get tired of because their chemistry is just that impossible to resist in my eyes. Jamie Dornan was also enjoyable as Edgar Paget, the antagonist's henchman who Barb and Star befriend during their vacation. He proved that his comedic skills were as charming as his good looks in his dramatic roles. The addition of Damon Wayans Jr. was also a big plus for me in terms of his humor. Based on my research, the movie was Josh Greenbaum's first attempt at directing a narrative-driven feature, let alone a surreal comedy from producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Having a documentary filmmaker helm something like this could've spelled disaster for the studio and the people involved, but I'm happy to see that this wasn't the case. Greenbaum's narrative feature debut was nothing but impressive as he was able to balance out the surreal-ness of the film's vibrant scenarios with the charm of the cast and the story.
Overall, "Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar" is equivalent to the "Bill & Ted" films. It's nonsensical to a fault, but it's the type of nonsense that's severely fun to witness. This is one of the movies that people would turn on whenever they had a rough day. Its bizarre narrative may not appeal to everyone. However, some of the people will find plenty of moments that'll put smiles on their faces in no time. The cast was entertaining, the colorful humor was endearing, the story was enjoyable, and Greenbaum's direction was pretty solid. This is a vacation that we all need, and I'm glad that the film delivered on that promise.