Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar is one of the strangest comedies I’ve seen. Written by Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo, the movie feels like two SNL skits mashed together and then filled out with a lot of comedic bits that range from quirky to inspired to hallucinogenic. I’m really curious as to what drug(s) Wiig and Mumolo were on while writing the script, because I find it difficult to believe they wrote it stone sober.
The titular characters are a couple of middle-aged single ladies from Nebraska, portrayed respectively by Mumolo and Wiig. With their Fargo-esque accents, drab outfits and helmet hair, I’d be hard pressed to categorize their characterizations of typical Midwestern women as affectionate. Personality-wise, they’re a couple of dim bulb oddballs with a penchant for talking, and talking, and talking some more about ridiculously trite subjects (people in the 1800s stunk!).
When their dream jobs at the local Jennifer furniture store come to an abrupt end, they take a vacation at Vista Del Mar to add some spark to their lives. After arriving, they hook up with the hunky Edgar (Jamie Dornan), the henchman of the evil Sharon Fisherman (Wiig, in a dual role). Fisherman, a villain who owes much to Dr. Evil of the Austin Powers movies, has sent Edgar to Vista Del Mar to help carry out her plot of revenge against the city that wronged her as a child.
Barb & Star is chockablock with gags (sight, visual and physical), and most of them land. The movie has a busy feel to it, a result of trying to do too much. As is typical for screwball comedies, the art is in separating the wheat from the chaff. The script would have resulted in a shorter but much better movie. For example, the entire Fisherman subplot never takes flight and should have been cut out entirely. Additionally, Barb and Star should have been given some differentiating characteristics (think Lloyd and Harry in Dumb and Dumber). As it stands, they are so similar as to be interchangeable, and their shtick becomes annoying at times. Still, Barb & Star has enough inspired comedy (and weirdness) for me to recommend it. You may suffer from mild brain damage from the experience, however. Mildly recommended.Continue reading “Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar”