Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar

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”

Free Guy

Free Guy is built on a great concept: Guy, a non-player character (or NPC) doesn’t realize he’s an NPC, or that he essentially lives in a video game world.  Guy’s lack of awareness in his Grand Theft Auto existence would have been funny on its own.  Ryan Reynolds trades in his passive-aggressive sarcasm for playful innocence, spinning comedic gold from Guy’s naivete.  As if that weren’t enough, Free Guy asks an intriguing question: what if an NPC became self-aware and fell in love with a player?  Filled with winning performances and a playful sense for anarchy not seen since the Looney Tunes, Free Guy is fun writ large.  Highly recommended.

Continue reading “Free Guy”

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman is an in-your-face story of a woman taking revenge on men who take advantage of women.  Carey Mulligan stars as Cassandra, a woman whose motives become clear as the movie progresses.  Her performance is unlike anything she’s done before, and easily elevates her to the upper-tier of actresses working today.  If you’re a woman, I’d think there’s plenty in the movie you can relate to.  If you’re a self proclaimed “nice guy”, the movie is a splash of ice water to the face.  Highly recommended.

Continue reading “Promising Young Woman (2020)”

Last Christmas (2019)

Even though my reviews typically discuss practically everything about whatever I’m reviewing at the time, I try to avoid spoiler territory by not posting a review immediately after something comes out. If you follow movies, you probably already know the big [insert your adjective here] twist in the third act of Last Christmas.  If you don’t know about it, and don’t want me to spoil the surprise, stop reading now.

Continue reading “Last Christmas (2019)”

The Little Hours (2017)

In the beginning of this movie, two Sisters chat in modern voices about a donkey that wandered away from their convent and needed to be retrieved again this morning.  The convent’s handyman walks by and gazes a bit to longly at the Sisters.  They then proceed to drop F-bombs on him until he finally walks away bewildered.  As the credits rolled, I wondered to myself, how would I describe this movie in my review?

Continue reading “The Little Hours (2017)”